If you visited one of a number of Oxford Street clubs in the past few weeks, the chances are that you were asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding clubbing and driving.
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has been conducting a survey for the NSW Police and the RTA looking into the driving and drug use behaviour of Sydney clubbers. This survey is being carried out just prior to the introduction of roadside drug testing in NSW.
In the next couple of weeks there will be a drug bus in NSW that will be able to test for cannabis, methamphetamine and ecstasy. There is no doubt that eventually we will see this bus on Oxford Street. T
herefore in the lead-up to the introduction of testing I thought it could be a good idea to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions. These are as follows:
How will random roadside saliva testing be conducted?
Full details of the procedure have not been released, but the model used by other jurisdictions is as follows. Before undertaking a random roadside drug test, drivers will be required to complete an alcohol test.
Drivers will be requested to provide a saliva sample for drug testing by placing an absorbent swab in their mouth and chewing on it or touching it on their tongue until a sample is collected. The sample will be screened at the roadside, with the result determined within about five minutes.
If positive, a second sample will be required for further analysis. If a second positive result is obtained, a blood test will be required to verify the result.
Will my medications be detected by random roadside saliva tests?
The proposed saliva test will not detect the presence of prescription drugs or common over-the-counter medications, such as cold and flu tablets, sinus medication (e.g. Sudafed), asthma and ADHD medication. Saliva tests will detect only THC (the active component of cannabis), methamphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy).
How long after taking cannabis, ecstasy or methamphetamines can they be detected?
THC will be detected for several hours after use. Drivers who have inactive THC residue in their bodies from use in previous days/ weeks will not be detected. Ecstasy or methamphetamines may be detected 24 hours after use.
Extremely large doses, other drugs taken at the same time, and differences in individual metabolism may affect the duration of the effects of methamphetamine or MDMA. This has implications for people who are out on the road after having a big night out.
Theoretically you could get busted for driving under the influence even though you feel completely together 24 hours later. A young man in Tasmania was one of the first people charged under their legislation and that was 3pm the afternoon after he had taken the drug.
Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>