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Biotech News Technology

Philips Develops Roadside Drug-Testing Device 647

Posted by timothy
from the better-for-your-privacy-citizen dept.
Al writes "A handheld developed by Philips for law enforcement detects traces of cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and methamphetamine in 90 seconds. The system uses magnetic nanoparticles attached to ligands that bind to traces of these drugs. Once saliva has been placed inside the device, an electromagnet mixes the sample and the nanoparticles. Frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) — the same phenomenon that underlies fingerprint scanners and multitouch screens — is then used to measure a change to the refractive index. By immobilizing different drug molecules on different parts of a sensor surface, the analyzer is able to identify traces of each different drug. An electronic screen displays instructions and a simple color-coded readout of the results."
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Philips Develops Roadside Drug-Testing Device

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  • Legalization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Delwin (599872) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:14PM (#28943805)
    This could go a long way towards treating other drugs like alcohol for driving purposes. One of the major roadblocks in legalization was no field test for driving while impaired.
    • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Informative)

      by valkoinen (81260) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:22PM (#28943933)

      The question is does it detect active ingredients instead of metabolites? For example cannabis can test positive even several days (or weeks) after consumption.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Delwin (599872) *
        The technology appears to be able to be tuned to detect specific molecules (by the large variety of things they can make it detect). So long as there's a molecular difference between active cannabis and the metabolites then you shouldn't end up with false positives for weeks after.
        • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hojima (1228978) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:49PM (#28944355)

          We're still a long way to legalizing cannabis. The biggest problem is the misinformation that organizations like DARE throw about. Hell, some of my friends still argue with me that THC is a hallucinogen and has a biological basis for addiction.

          • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:22PM (#28944979)

            Hell, some of my friends still argue with me that THC is a hallucinogen

            They said no such thing. I think you imagined the whole conversation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The main issue with all 'drug tests' is the constant problem with false positives due to OTC products and supplements..

      As far as field testing for being 'impaired'? It's called a line walk. If you can walk a straight line, you can drive a straight line. The "No filed test' issue is pure BS, and everyone knows it.

      Bad enough that the rabid prohibition group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or NAMBLA, has lobbied the legal BAL so low that I can't legally drive after eating a piece of my mother's rum cake.. Now

    • by RedK (112790)
      I doubt very much that it was a roadblock in the first place. You have a lot of to do before drugs, especially harder drugs become legal for general consumption like Alcohol is. One of those being to convince all the "Think of the children" people like MADD to step back on some of their issues.
    • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:29PM (#28944065) Journal

      This could go a long way towards treating other drugs like alcohol for driving purposes. One of the major roadblocks in legalization was no field test for driving while impaired.

      The sad thing is that the way alcohol is treated makes no sense. Statistics show that the overwhelming majority of accidents caused by drinking are caused by people with BACs of 0.15 or higher. Instead of paroling the roadways looking for these drivers (who are usually swerving all over the road -- how many times have you seen this with no police anywhere to be seen?) the police tend to sit outside bars and pull everybody over, looking for those who blow a hair over 0.08. These people are then arrested regardless of whether or not they show signs of actual impairment.

      Then there's the loss of our civil liberties that go along with the war on drunk driving. Random police roadblocks, "implied consent" laws and the 21 drinking age all come to mind. The fact that my 19 year old brother can join the army but can't legally buy a beer is offensive the notion of free choice and liberty. I find the fact that I have to drive through a roadblock on my way home at night just because my house happens to be near a bar to be particularly insulting. We are treated as though we are guilty until proven innocent and that is not how things are supposed to work in the United States.

      You also gotta love the interest groups that have sprung up around the issue. MADD has morphed over the years from an organization with a laudable enough goal (reduce drunk driving deaths) into a neo-prohibitionist organization that is waging a war on all drinking. If they had their way, booze would be taxed at a higher rate than tobbaco and every car sold in the US would have an ignition interlock system. The Founder of the organization left it sometime ago in disgust at what it has become.

      • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Interesting)

        by eln (21727) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:46PM (#28944309) Homepage

        MADD has morphed over the years from an organization with a laudable enough goal (reduce drunk driving deaths) into a neo-prohibitionist organization that is waging a war on all drinking. If they had their way, booze would be taxed at a higher rate than tobbaco and every car sold in the US would have an ignition interlock system. The Founder of the organization left it sometime ago in disgust at what it has become.

        This is a problem with interest groups in general. Most are formed with a specific goal in mind. However, they also employ people and generally give a lot of people a sense of belonging that they don't want to give up. So, once the goal they were created for is reached, they don't disband like they should. Instead, they just set new, generally more extreme goals, until they eventually degenerate into a fringe group of wackos. Unfortunately, the disproportionate political influence they gained from fighting for their earlier, more generally supported, cause is often maintained far longer than it ought to be, so many of their extremist garbage ends up being discussed, and even acted on by Congress, more than most people would like.

        • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:55PM (#28944453) Journal

          Unfortunately, the disproportionate political influence they gained from fighting for their earlier, more generally supported, cause is often maintained far longer than it ought to be

          MADD's political influence is maintained because coming out against drunk driving is about the easiest thing a politician can do to demonstrate that he "gets it" and is "thinking about the children". About the only thing that's more effective than pandering to MADD is passing more laws against "sex offenders".

          Roaming offtopic here, but that's another issue that has gone way out of control. It started with the laudable goal of protecting our children from the real predators of the world (there actually are some....) and has since morphed into a system that forces a 17 year old to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life for having sex with his 16 year old girlfriend. WTF is wrong with that picture? Here's a novel idea: Lock up the real kiddie rapists for life and throw away the key (kinda renders all those discussions about registries a moot point, doesn't it?) and leave the poor 17 year old out of the criminal justice system.

          • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ironica (124657) <pixel.boondock@org> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:52PM (#28945527) Journal

            Actually, the even worse parts about the whole sex offender registry are:

            1) It makes explicit what we've known for a long time... our criminal justice system has no rehabilitation element. People come out of prison just as dangerous as when they went in, if not more so.

            2) It gives a false sense of security to parents. They warn their kids to stay away from the guy who GOT CAUGHT, when there's probably three other pervs in the area who never have been.

            I think those registries are an affront to society in a ton of ways. I will never look at them. Instead, I teach my kids to trust their instincts about people and follow normal safety rules. I never imply that they should allow someone to hug or kiss them just because it's a relative or friend; THEY always get to decide about their comfort level with affection. And I keep an eye on them.

            • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

              by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:19PM (#28945935)

              Another fucked up consequence of those registers is that it reinforces the idea that strangers are the threat.
              And so the concerned parents leave little suzy with oh so familiar uncle Mcbuggery while they go out to lynch anyone who's name sounds a little bit like that of someone on the register.

              Strangers aren't the danger, it's friends and family who are most likely to rape your kids.

      • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:07PM (#28944683) Homepage Journal

        last time I came up on a DUI checkpoint I was completely sober, and was on my way to my brothers house for an all-nighter of Halo and booze (great combo BTW).

        Looking for some entertainment I made an obvious end-run around the checkpoint by turning into an adjacent shopping center just before the check, and back onto the road just after the check.
        I was lit up and pulled over within 30 seconds.
        I was asked "do you know why I pulled you over?" to which I responded truthfully: "I avoided the checkpoint".

        several minutes later I was released because I had nothing on my person, nothing in plain sight to give probable cause to search my vehicle, and I passed the field sobriety check by blowing a 0.02. What's scary about that number is that I had *nothing* to drink in the last 3 hours, and no booze at all that entire day... So where did the .02 come from?
        -nB

    • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:30PM (#28944083) Journal

      Police could test actual impairment. Some years back I read about an impairment testing device for use in factories and heavy machinery. It's a simple LCD screen with a left-right joystick. A dot moves randomly to the left or the right on the screen, the user tries to keep it in the center using the joystick. If their reaction times are not impaired, the device unlocks the machinery. If they are, for whatever reason, like sleep deprivation, prescription medications, illegal drugs, or whatever, then the machinery remains locked. The police could test actual impairment rather than the presence of things that might or might not impair reactions. This would catch any sort of impairment which might endanger drivers and others on the road. For instance, studies have found that people with severe sleep apnea are about as likely to get in an accident as someone with a .1 BAC. If we are trying to protect people on the roads, rather than simply punish users of certain substances, this would be a fairer option.

    • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Psyborgue (699890) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:33PM (#28944121) Homepage Journal
      If there is no way to tell if a person is intoxicated by their behavior, what exactly is the problem? Is the person really intoxicated then?
      • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Delwin (599872) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:36PM (#28944171)
        Just because they can walk a straight line within the sensory limits of the officer doesn't mean there isn't a 5% or 10% reduction in reaction time that can be the difference between life and death in a car.

        Then again being tired at the wheel is far more dangerous. There's just no good field test for that.
        • by Psyborgue (699890)
          But if it's within acceptable limits, what is the problem? You're also assuming that all illegal substances cause driving difficulty which is simply not the case

          (in addition to that TV test, there have been actual studies in NL finding similar results as well).

        • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ElSupreme (1217088) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:47PM (#28944337)
          But even if they are experience a 5% to 10% reduction of reaction time they are 'acceptably' able to drive. There are some people who are much better at driving than others. Why should it be illegial for them to be driving at 90% their ability when they are still way better than most?

          If there are NO signs of imparment then there should be no testing. Bad driving should be enforced, not arbitrary values like BAC and speed limits. The thing is it is easy to quantfy BAC (not accurately but easy to get a number) and speed limits. So thoes get enforced.
        • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:26PM (#28945043) Homepage Journal

          Please, everything is more dangerous then driving at .08%
          Talking to passengers while driving is worse, texting is worse, changing the music station is worse, drinking is worse, eating is worse, being tired is worse.

          I mean, if .08 was so bad, we would have nothing but smashed cars on the side of the road.

          How about re arrest people who are driving recklessly and put away this whole idea that a thing you do is what's bad.

          Stop with the DD laws, the texting laws the cell use laws.

    • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeng (926980) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:35PM (#28944153)

      Not having a field test for marijuana isn't a reason that marijuana is still illegal. Hell if that was the reason it wouldn't be a schedule 1 drug, while Cocaine which is much much worse is only a schedule 2.

      Honestly, I don't think there is a clear reasoning at this point why marijuana is illegal. It just is.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        Honestly, I don't think there is a clear reasoning at this point why marijuana is illegal. It just is.

        Marijuana is bad, Mmkay? How much clearer than that can you get?

      • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

        by countertrolling (1585477) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:09PM (#28944703) Journal

        Honestly, I don't think there is a clear reasoning at this point why marijuana is illegal.

        Money. Prohibition is big business.

    • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mewsenews (251487) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:36PM (#28944167) Homepage

      One of the major roadblocks in legalization was no field test for driving while impaired.

      Yeah.. in addition to generations of fear-mongering and politicians without the cajones to appear "soft on crime".

    • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:39PM (#28944211) Homepage Journal

      It doesn't measure intoxication, which is why I have such a severe problem with drug testing in general. Some guy likes to smoke a joint on Friday night, for the next month he'll test positive for marijuana, even though he's never never been high at work, while another guy stoned to the gills on prescription vicodin gets a free pass just because the vicodin is legal with a prescription.

      I know some ignorant people who used to be pot smokers who are now addicted to crack cocaine because of drug testing. Pot use can be determined for a month, while the cheap tests employers use for cocaine can only detect that for three days. Knowing full well that they've been bullshitted by the government about pot, they figure that Nanny Government has been lying about crack, too. So they switch from pot to crack and wind up fired anyway, because they've become addicted and are smoking the stuff daily.

      I'd like some of the anti-nanny state conservatives here to answer something - why are you guys so much in favor of antidrug laws? These are the worst of nanny state laws. Why should my employer have any say in anything that doesn't affect my job performance? Why should the government have any say over what I put in my body so long as it doesn't endanger anyone else? I'm against impaired driving, as that puts me at risk, but so long as you don't drive or go bow hunting while stoned it doesn't affect anyone.

      And you "pro-choice" liberals, why is it OK to remove a fetus but not OK to insert a heroin syringe? Both camps seem pretty damned hypocritical to me.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        Some guy likes to smoke a joint on Friday night, for the next month he'll test positive for marijuana, even though he's never never been high at work

        Most of the studies I've read suggest that the detection range is usually less than a month for the occasional smoker, though as with anything biological it can vary tremendously depending on your metabolism/diet/routine and other factors. It can be detected for a longer period of time in daily smokers though.

        Knowing full well that they've been bullshitted by the government about pot, they figure that Nanny Government has been lying about crack, too. So they switch from pot to crack and wind up fired anyway, because they've become addicted and are smoking the stuff daily.

        I don't have much sympathy for anyone who is that stupid. Unbiased information is out there -- there's no excuse in the information age for not finding it. Erowid [erowid.org] is a great resource and starting p

        • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

          by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:31PM (#28945137) Homepage

          Most of the studies I've read suggest that the detection range is usually less than a month for the occasional smoker

          That's still about, oh, 29.5 days too broad. So what if someone enjoys a joint over the weekend, or in the evening ? As long as they're not stoned at work, I couldn't care less. Why is marijuana more evil than alcohol ? Yesterday's partying was hella crazy, yet I'm perfectly capable of doing my job today because the booze has run its course and I've had plenty of time to sober up. My BAC is probably zero or very close to it, and I'm at no risk of getting in trouble for boozing 24 hours ago, so why should a pot smoker be treated any worse ?

          • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Informative)

            by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @03:30PM (#28947007) Journal
            You say that but I know plenty of people who'll sink four pints of Stella a night. That's 12 units. That's about 13 hours to clear the alcohol out. Finish drinking at 11pm and you won't be sober until lunchtime the next day. Forget that your body slows down during sleep too.

            Eight pints on a Friday night, drive in the morning... Don't get me started. Irresponsible is a tame word to use.
      • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aaandre (526056) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:38PM (#28945275)

        Stating the obvious reasons for criminalization.

        - "War on drugs" is very very profitable.
        - "War on drugs" gets every parent's vote.
        - Politicians are not interested in anything that will make them less electable, especially by moms and old ladies.
        - Decades-long framing of the idea of illegal drug use as criminal and bad.
        - Decades-long framing of the idea that if a politician changes their mind, they are/were stupid or unreliable, contrary to the fact that changing one's mind is usually a sign of evolving worldview. Politicians are terrified of "flip-flopping."
        - Politicians do not serve the people who elected them but money.
        - Often people who use mind altering substances have more open minds. Open minds see through the BS of political systems and oppression. It is very convenient to have a quick, easy way of condemning and removing open minds from the fabric of society and the Holy Inquisition is out of fashion.

        I am sure you can add more.

        Pro-choice and anti-choice battle is a great example of how politics works. We are given an issue that polarizes and divides us and focuses our energy on fighting each other and not the oppressive system that enslaves us. If you look at that issue you'll see that the reality is we can not stop women from attempting abortion in one way or another. It is not possible. This is not the real issue. A culture where money is more important than human beings, lack of support for and negative attitude towards single parents, the necessity to work endless hours and live disconnected from one's children, the monetization of human health and life, are all major contributers to the issue. Dealing with these would change the numbers but would require many, many of us to change the way we think and act, and namely to start actually caring for each other.

      • I'd like some of the anti-nanny state conservatives here to answer something - why are you guys so much in favor of antidrug laws?

        I don't know what gave you this impression.

         

        The fundamental philosophy of "anti-nanny staters" is that it's not the governments job to protect people from themselves. Your mistaken if you believe that the majority of us take drug use to be an exception to this principle.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) - the same phenomenon that underlies fingerprint scanners and multitouch screens - is the used to measure a change to the refractive index.

      Perhaps the Slashdot editors should use this device prior to posting an article to the main page. The again, what do I know?

  • And then we'll have chips that do the same thing.

    Oh, where is that tin hat of mine!

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:16PM (#28943833)
    ...that we can ill-afford. I have a much better idea. Why not simply jail everyone from the get-go to save everyone time?
    • And you think we can afford having more people in prison as opposed to spending more to make sure we better filter those who deserver to be in prison? Unless I'm mistaken, I think having fewer people in prison means more people paying taxes and less people getting fed on our buck.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by larry bagina (561269)
      We only need to jail 536 people to save trillions.
    • by funkatron (912521)
      Jail is too expensive. Use the chair (or the rope if you're feeling green).
      • by torkus (1133985)

        Oddly it's more expensive to execute someone than to let them rot in jail for the rest of their life.

        But after the debacle with the NY state government I've entirely given up hope. If it's OK to suspend the constitution over 'terrorism' how about we suspend it one last time over our government not acting in the interest of our country. Kill em all and let god* sort them out.

        *or whatever deity you prefer. Atheists can sit smugly knowing no one else has to clean up their trash :)

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:18PM (#28943859) Homepage
    They should open the code and hardware specs to reduce the understandable suspicion we have of black box judicial devices [arstechnica.com].
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:19PM (#28943867)
    Requesting the source code worked in one breathalyzer case.
  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_liek_turtles (1110703) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:19PM (#28943877)
    Can this tell the difference between intoxication and merely having used said drug in the past couple of days? While cannabis may be illegal, a DUI should not be warranted if you happen to test positive, given the long time it's present in your bloodstream.
    • by Proto23 (931154) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:23PM (#28943953)
      There has been some news here in the Netherlands about it and no it can't see whether you are under the influence or have used it in the last 24 hours or even days before depending on the drug. Most drug effect wear off after sleep and this machine won't know the difference. In the Netherlands this is such a big problem that drug prevention units like Trimbos are advising against its use as it will create more problems than solve. But maybe it works better in countries that prosecute users anyway.
    • by joeytmann (664434)
      If it can detect presence it more than likely can detect amounts also. So more than likely there will be differing levels of each to warrant a DUI. Being that it detect illegal substances penalties are more than likely going to be a bit stiffer and probably open you up to a visit from cops with warrants to search your house/work/car for drug paraphernalia.
    • If you go to a concert and end up close to someone smoking a joint, will this pick up the presence of cannabinoids in your saliva?
    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      I don't believe that's fair. It has yet to be shown that cannabis causes driving impairment. There is evidence to the contrary in studies done in NL as well as this handy video [youtube.com]. The few people who indeed become "too stoned" to drive are not likely to be doing so... rather sitting on a couch somewhere. Weed does not make people overconfident like alcohol and "believe" they can drive when they can't. It's likely to do the opposite and make a person too paranoid to drive. I think it's a lot more fair to
  • Now highway cops will have these handy-dandy devices that will also detect legal drugs but will still try to arrest you for being "influenced".

    If you're not having problems driving, communicating or making rational decisions then the drug isn't harmful, some people need things like amphetamines to be rational.

    Maybe this is a fair weapon against irresponsible driving, but all I can see on the surface is another tool for abuse.

  • False Positives? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Banichi (1255242) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:20PM (#28943899)
    Do they return false positives for people who eat poppy seed cake? http://www.snopes.com/medical/drugs/poppyseed.asp [snopes.com]
  • This is promising. We need more and better hand-held medical devices. Medical technology tends to be bulky, and as it is downsized, it can be deployed more freely.

    A friend of mine is a horse veterinarian, and she's always looking for devices that can be used in the field. Vets sometimes get new gear before human doctors do, because it can be deployed for animal use while it's still in clinical testing for humans. She already has compact X-ray gear which displays on a laptop; that was a big advance. S

  • With the successful campaign to free up breathalyser source code [slashdot.org] how long before this is challenged and the science behind it questioned? Before or after multiple convictions?

    Can being at the party and kissing the babe with the razor blade be sufficient to get traces in your saliva?

    Because we can, should we?

  • by eln (21727) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:26PM (#28944009) Homepage
    I knew a guy in college who could smell weed from miles away. No matter where you were, if you broke out a joint, he would magically show up within minutes. Hiring guys like that has to be cheaper than these devices.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797)

      Actually, the dogs are cheaper. It's not illegal to have traces of ANY drug in your system; being intoxicated while driving is. This neither tests for intoxication nor indicates the possession of any drugs.

      This technology is useless, except for propaganda purposes.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:27PM (#28944025)

    ... so our government can keep being at 'war' with us.

    Drugs are a social health problem, not a criminal problem. Sadly our representatives and much of our populous lacks the maturity or the foresight to acknowledge this difference --- and thus the current moralist/criminalist approach leads to filled prisons and fines that leave us wondering why we're all such bad people.

    Wake up -- curiosity and susceptibility are not bad things. Given the change in availability and removal of black markets, most drugs only impact the individual -- and for 'other crimes' that people may commit on drugs, those acts are still criminal. Example: in a meth legal world, the addict is not treated like a criminal, but if she neglects her child she can still be held responsible for that neglect.

    Like I said, drugs are a health issue.

  • i've been participating in the transparencycorps project [slashdot.org], and have been amused at seeing all the requests by representatives for this or that device for police departments all over the country. how long before we start seeing requests for this device too?

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:30PM (#28944095)
    Its just a photo of a dog in a baseball cap and sunglasses, if you totally think he looks like he could drive a truck, you failed the test.
  • by xednieht (1117791) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:32PM (#28944117) Homepage
    So much for making out with crack whores.
  • As has been shown time and time again (including by the Mythbusters) eating poppy seed bread can set off a false positive. How sensitive is this thing? I.e. will it discard anything below a certain level or just flag you for the tiniest amount of opiates (I think it's opiates in the poppy seeds)?

  • This will probably prompt some zero tolerance laws--any illegal drugs in your system when driving, and you are guilty. I expect that such a law would pass constitutional muster, but there would be challenges.

    Law enforcement will want to jump immediately on this stuff. The big expense with this kind of thing is not buying the units and training the users and maintainers--the big expense is the inevitable war of legal challenges that will result. If the manufacturer will not fully expose its schematics and

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:44PM (#28944283)
    State trooper: Do you have any illicit substance on you?
    Cheech: Not anymore, hehehe.
  • They need only to step out the front door of their office in Eindhoven to test for space cakes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coFCa7k4iyg [youtube.com]

  • by Dr_Ken (1163339) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:46PM (#28944307) Journal
    ... letting the "war on drugs" police-prison-industrial complex beat us into the ground (i.e., take away all vestiges of privacy, personal choice, and/or any sense of pleasure) with its ever advancing technology? We should just end the WOD already? It ain't nobody's business what drugs/substances I use, drink, smoke or eat if if it doesn't harm anyone else. We need to declare an end to this Nixon era nightmare so we can empty out the prisons, give cops something more productive to do and increase our revenues by taxing the dopers to recoup what we can from their vices. Drug abuse is a medical problem not a PPI one. So let's treat it that way before the PPI's tax subsidized techno mavens create a total (but drug free!) police state for us to live. (End of rant)
    • this is why: (Score:3, Insightful)

      http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20090804/NEWS/90804012/Wrong-way-Taconic-crash--Driver-Schuler-was-drunk&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL [poughkeepsiejournal.com]

      people don't act responsibly. your opinion about drugs and complete freedom to their access would be valid if everyone acted responsibly with drugs

      but people don't act responsibly with drugs, and so they must be controlled, simply because it cuts down on pointless tragedies

      you could counter that limiting people's freedoms is not a justifiable trade-off for making

  • LSD's alright then? Trippy!
  • Tiredness Test (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:57PM (#28944495) Homepage

    Personally I'd much rather see a test for melatonin levels than any narcotic. Driving while tired is much more common and more hence likely to cause accidents than drug use I think.

  • by sam0vi (985269) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:04PM (#28944613)

    The thing about drug-testing (not alcohol) for driving purposes that always leaves me wondering is: how the they know I'm positively high? Maybe I shared a joint a month ago with my buddies, and since THC is fat-soluble it lasts longer than any other controlled substance in your system. Maybe it doesn't last for so long in your saliva, but still there should be a threshold just like there is with alcohol ( >0.23 = your are busted, 0.23 = you can go now). How do they legally state that you are not ok to operate a motor vehicle?? In my opinion the only way to assess this would be by legalizing, and then restricting. This way it's just nuts.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:04PM (#28944623)

    "Philips screw driver."

  • Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:34PM (#28945209)

    Three points to make.

    1) First and most importantly the device's software should (must) be open source. The breathalyzer has been shown in recent years (at least in the USA) to be wildly inaccurate, make false assumptions, and contain horrible rounding errors (when multiplied by ppm is a lot). It took years and court orders to finally look at the software which was protected under the auspices of "Trade Secrets". When opened up it was found that the code looked to be written by retarded drunken squirrels.

    2) One fear as already mentioned is it may only detect remains of drugs and not active drugs. Like the differance if I smoked a join before hoping into the car, or if I smoked some 4 weeks ago in my house. Along with this is detecting drugs that are derivatives of each other. So they might say detect Heroin when really I had some medically percribed morphine at some point.

    3) One easy test is the scientifically proven field test as demonstrated in "Super Troopers". If any of the occupants are "like totally freaked out dude" then they are high and can be arrested.

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