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Gardai issue advice regarding cannabis use and new drug driving test

NewsBy Sunday World
The Drager oral test being administered
The Drager oral test being administered

In what they say is a response to a number of queries, gardai have published specific advice for cannabis users with regard to the new drug driving test.

 The new roadside tests for a whole host of drugs began today after the gardai announced details of the Drager oral test yesterday.

However, this morning gardai issued a document which they say was a response to a number of queries they had received since the announcement yesterday.

The most informative was the section on specific medicines and illegal drugs.

One question was Will I be arrested if my oral fluid is positive for drugs?

The response: If your oral fluid tests positive for cannabis or cocaine you will be arrested and brought to the station where a blood specimen will be collected and sent to the MBRS for analysis.

If your oral fluid tests positive for benzodiazepines or opiates and the Garda is of the opinion that you are impaired you will be arrested and brought to the station where a
blood specimen will be collected and sent to the MBRS for analysis.

If your oral fluid tests positive for benzodiazepines or opiates and the Garda is of the opinion that you are not impaired you are not committing an offence and can drive
on. 

A follow on question on over-the-counter medicines containing codeine was also posed

Will I test positively from taking over-the-counter medicine e.g. aspirin/cold and flu medicine?

Most over the counter medicines will not be detected by the new oral fluid test.

However, Codeine, which is contained in products like Neruofen Plus® and Solpadeine® is an opiate and is detectable in oral fluid after use.

This is not a problem if you are not impaired. Codeine does have the ability to cause impairment which could affect your ability to drive safely. Medicines which can cause drowsiness such as anti-histamines which are in some cold and flu remedies will impair your ability to drive safely.

Follow the advice provided by your Doctor and/or pharmacist when taking any medicines and always read the patient information leaflet which will advise on recommended dosages and whether the medicine can affect your ability to drive. 

There were also three questions specifically on cannabis use.

Can’t cannabis stay in your system for days after you smoke it?

The Drager Drugtest 5000 will detect 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis, in oral fluid for about 6 hours after last use.

How can one be allowed to drive under medicinal cannabis if they have a note from their doctor, they are still impaired?

It is expected that an extremely small number of drivers will be able to avail of the medical exemption certificate where their doctor lawfully prescribes them with a
product which contains a medicinal cannabinoid. This certificate does not allow them to drive if they are impaired. A driver who tests positive for cannabis and is impaired is committing an offence.

I smoke cannabis regularly, how do I know when I am allowed to drive after taking it?

It is recommended to wait 24 hours after last using cannabis before driving. If you are sure you are no longer impaired as result of taking cannabis and more than 6 hours
have elapsed since last use it should not be possible for a Garda to detect impairment and the 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level in you oral fluid should be lower than the detection limit for the Cannabis test on the Drager Drugtest 5000.

For the full list of queries answered by Gardai, check out the link here