ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Changing trends of drug driving detections in South Australia

Thompson, P

Drink/Drug Driving


The objective of this paper is to present the success of the driver drug testing regime that has been established in South Australia since 2006 and the changing trends in driver drug detections between 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. Legislation to introduce roadside driver drug testing into South Australia using either saliva or blood became operative on 1 July 2006. Three drugs were proscribed with the introduction of the regime being: Methylamphetamine; Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinal; 3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine. South Australia Police (SAPOL) currently uses two oral fluid collection devices as a part of the regime established in South Australia. The devices utilised are: Securetec Drugwipe II Twin; Cozart DDS. SAPOL has expanded its driver drug testing regime across the Jurisdiction with all traffic enforcement officers trained to undertake the task since 2008. There are presently 615 officers trained to conduct screenings on drivers with 328 of those officers trained to undertake oral fluid analyses. SAPOL is seeing a significant increase in its detection rate to Methylamphetamine over the last 12 months with an associated decrease in the detection in the detection rate to THC. A significant increase in the detection of drugs in drivers is being noted with an increase of 35% in the detection rate for the 2011/2012 year compared to the previous 12 months. A breakdown on the success of the regime and the results obtained will be provided as a part of the presentation. There is no conclusive evidence as to why the increase as to why the increase in Methylamphetamine and decrease in THC detections are being observed. It is possible that the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids may be a contributing factor. SAPOL presently screens 40,000 drivers for drugs per year. With a population base of 1.66 million people, SAPOL screens drivers for drugs approximately 4 times greater than any other Australian jurisdiction. SAPOL has decentralised its driver drug testing functions across the State and has significant training requirements for its officers to undertake this task. The training requirement coupled with the long term establishment of officers conducting these duties is seen as a contributing factor in the success of drug driving detections in South Australia.