Future of Drug Testing – The Draeger Drug Test 5000

August 12, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely serious in Florida. Getting charged with a DUI can result in harsh consequences. Expensive fines, imprisonment, probation, and potentially losing your license are all penalties that can come with a DUI charge.

Police already have devices for determining if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. This includes a breathalyzer test, a field sobriety test, and a DUI blood test. What about drivers who are under the influence of illegal substances rather than alcohol?

A device called the Draeger Drug Test 5000 may be the answer and the future for police issuing DUIs for drugs. We will explain what the device is, how it works, and if will be used in the future by police departments.

What is the Draeger Drug Test 5000?

The Draeger Drug Test 5000 (DDT5000) is a version of Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) or “point of collection” testing. That means it’s a rapid testing method that uses an immunoassay method to detect whether there is any trace of drugs in a person’s saliva. Immunoassays are tests either on-site or in a laboratory to detect specific molecules in a quick and accurate manner. Immunoassays rely on the ability to bind the specific structure of a molecule.

The most common type of LFT test is an at-home pregnancy test.

The DDT5000 can detect the seven following drugs:

  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinaol (THC)
  • Methadone

The DDT5000 is a testing machine that specifically analyzes oral fluid. The reason oral fluid testing is a popular method is that it is an easy source of collection, and it can be completed close in time to the suspected person driving, whereas other forms of drug tests have to be collected later on. If it becomes universally used by police officers, it is a much easier method to collect a biological sample without relying on specialized equipment.

How with the Test be Used?

Similar to the breathalyzer test that police use for DUIs, the DDT5000 is meant to be used at the roadside of a traffic stop or after an arrest has been made. The difference is that the DDT5000 does not provide a scaled number. This may limit the screening of the device, and a positive result would still require another test to confirm the intoxication.

The DDT5000 testing device is made up of four parts:

  • Analyzer
  • Printer
  • Keyboard
  • Test Cassette

If a police officer pulls someone over that they believe to be under the influence of drugs, they could use the DDT5000 by placing the sample collector into the individual’s mouth. The sample is collected from the person’s gums and cheek. There will be a blue light indicator on the testing device to show that enough sample has been collected.

After the sample is collected, a buffer cartridge is inserted into the analyzer. The device takes around eight minutes for the testing to be considered complete. Then the results will show on the device, indicating a positive or negative result. Officers can print out the results.

Since there is no numerical result, Draeger’s manual states that for a confirmed analytical result there should be an additional test done. An alternative chemical method is suggested, such as a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. Draeger says the second oral fluid test should be analyzed for an accurate result.

Future for Law Enforcement

As of now, DDT5000 has not yet been approved for roadside testing by the federal government. However, in April 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the testing device may soon be approved for use.

Based on the data NHTSA released, the DDT5000 met all of the standards for the specific device performance regulations. The specification for performance is based on the Roadside Testing Assessment (ROSITA) and the Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines (DRUID) project. Both the ROSITA and the DRUID studies were the first for oral fluid drug testing projects, and they made recommendations for accuracy and sensitivity for officers to be confident in the results from an oral fluid drug-testing device.

The DRUID project says the level of accuracy and sensitivity needs to be over 80%, and ROSITA recommends over 90% to be considered accurate. The DDT5000 was able to meet the standards for both DRUID and ROSITA. The five phases in which DDT5000 was analyzed were based on the following:

  • Accuracy
  • Reliability
  • Performance to Specification
  • Susceptibility to Interference
  • Resistance of the Consumables to Temperature and Humidity

Although the DDT5000 met the criteria, the device is clearly not perfect. There were seven false positives that were observed when analyzing the testing device. The false positives occurred when the testing samples contained something other than the target drug. For instance, three false positives indicated THC intoxication, but when the saliva was mixed with coffee, toothpaste, and beer it was negative. There were also false negatives results when the sample with the target drug was mixed with milk, resulting in a false negative for THC. There was another false negative for opiates when the saliva was mixed with chewing tobacco.

Even though the device is not yet perfected, there is still a good chance that law enforcement may begin using oral fluid devices such as the DDT5000 for gathering evidence for drugged driving charges.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Being accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be extremely scary, and you may feel like you have no options. However, the best way to fight your case is to work with a skilled Florida defense attorney. A criminal conviction can lead to hefty fines, imprisonment, probation, and the stigma of having a criminal record. Devices like DDT5000 can be very useful to police officers, which also means it could be much easier to charge individuals with driving under the influence of drugs. If you or a loved one have been arrested for driving under the influence, contact Pumphrey Law Firm. Our team will work tirelessly with you to build a strong defense and work towards earning your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

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