Washtenaw County deputies use saliva samples to check for drugs in drivers' systems

Device designed to detect recent use

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – Seven drug recognition experts at the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office are trained to spot drunken drivers and drivers on drugs.

Related: Michigan police to begin roadside drug testing in 5 counties 

Deputy Brian Webb is one of those experts. He carries a device that is designed to immediately tell if there are drugs in someone's system.

The device uses a mouth swab to detect recent drug use. Webb said that being on prescription drugs will not make drivers a target because drivers must be impaired by those prescriptions. He also noted that past marijuana use won't show in the test.

"If it's in the saliva we found, that's more recent use because people are concerned, 'What if it's marijuana I smoked a few days ago?' That's not going to show up," Webb said.

Drivers must consent to the testing. If they deny the oral test, it's a civil infraction.

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