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Michigan police roadside drug testing program starts today: What to know

Drivers may be screened orally for drugs

Michigan State Police trooper conducts traffic stop. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A second phase of roadside drug testing will begin Tuesday, Michigan State Police announced.

According to police, Michigan has seen a steady increase in fatal crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs in recent years. In 2018, there were 247 drug-involved traffic fatalities.

"The Michigan State Police conducted a one-year Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot program, which concluded in November 2018, in five counties -- Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw. The initial pilot provided valuable data on the performance of the oral fluid test instrument when coupled with law enforcement observed driver behavior and standardized field sobriety tests, but the overall sample size was too small to draw any definitive conclusions on the tool’s usefulness for law enforcement," reads a statement from state police.

During that trial period between November 2017 and November 2018, state police said officers conducted 92 oral tests and 74 came back positive for marijuana. However, five of the positive tests came back as false positive after a blood test.

In Dec. 2018, the Michigan Legislature agreed to support the ongoing funding of the oral fluid pilot
and the expansion of the pilot program to additional interested, qualified counties around the state.

An appropriation of $626,000 for the extension of the Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot Program was
included in the supplemental funding bill that became Public Act 618 of 2018.

How it works

According to state police, under the pilot program a drug recognition expert (DRE) may require a person to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis to detect the presence of a controlled substance in the person’s body if they suspect the driver is impaired by drugs. The preliminary oral fluid analysis will be conducted by a DRE on the person’s oral fluid, obtained by mouth swab, and will be administered along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used by DREs.

The oral fluid test instrument tests for the presence of the following drugs: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis (delta 9 THC), cocaine, methamphetamines and opiates.

Refusal to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis upon lawful demand of a police officer is a civil infraction.

State police said DREs are police officers who have received highly specified training that allows them to identify drivers impaired by drugs. Although the pilot program is being organized and managed by the MSP, DREs employed by county, township and municipal police agencies are also involved.

Participating law enforcement agencies include:

  • Adrian Township Police Department
  • Allegan County Sheriff’s Department
  • Alma Department of Public Safety
  • Alpena Police Department
  • Ann Arbor Police Department
  • Auburn Hills Police Department
  • Battle Creek Police Department
  • Bay City Police Department
  • Bay County Sheriff’s Office
  • Berrien County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bloomfield Township Police Department
  • Cadillac Police Department
  • Canton Township Police Department
  • Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chikaming Township Police Department
  • Clawson Police Department
  • Dearborn Police Department
  • Escanaba Department of Public Safety
  • Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office
  • Grand Blanc Township Police Department
  • Grand Haven Department of Public Safety
  • Grand Rapids Police Department
  • Grand Valley State University Police Department
  • Greenville Department of Public Safety
  • Hamburg Township Police Department
  • Imlay City Police Department
  • Ingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department
  • Kent County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lapeer Police Department
  • Lincoln Township Police Department
  • Livonia Police Department
  • Macomb County Sheriff’s Department
  • Marquette County Sheriff’s Office
  • Menominee Police Department
  • Michigan State Police
  • Midland Police Department
  • Monroe Department of Public Safety
  • Mt. Pleasant Police Department
  • Muskegon Police Department
  • Novi Police Department
  • Oscoda Township Police Department
  • Petoskey Department of Public Safety
  • Pokagon Tribal Police
  • Port Huron Police Department
  • Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department
  • Southfield Police Department
  • St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office
  • Troy Police Department
  • University of Michigan Police Department
  • Washtenaw Co Sheriff’s Office
  • Wayland Police Department
  • Western Michigan University Department of Public Service
  • Ypsilanti Police Department

You can see the full pilot program report below:


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