Drug driving detections double drink drivers
DRUG driving is more common than drink driving on Gladstone region roads this year, in a worrying trend for motorists, police, emergency services and the general public.
Every week four or five drivers are detected under the influence of illicit drugs, while at least two motorists are caught drink driving in the Gladstone area.
Calliope Road Policing Command officer in charge, Senior Sergeant Shaune English said methylamphetamines, including ice, have overtaken cannabis as the most common drug detected in drivers.
Such is the prevalence of the use of illegal stimulants, Snr Sgt English said more than 50 per-cent of drivers detected with drugs in their system in the region were high on ice or speed.
Traditionally, motorists thought cannabis was the drug that was most easily detected by police, but Snr Sgt English said this was not the case.
“With the saliva analysis we use, the methylamphetamines actually stay in the body longer than cannabis,” he said.
“We see a lot of drivers with both methylamphetamines and cannabis in their systems.
“I’ve had some people who say to me they take the meth in the morning to wake them up and then they take the cannabis at night to help them sleep.”
During the first three months of 2020, Snr Sgt English said 41 drivers were detected drug driving around the Gladstone area.
As this year has been radically different to any other in recent memory, he said drug detections were actually down on what would usually be done.
“The first three months of this year haven’t exactly been normal, we have been focusing a lot more on Covid-19 stuff since the outbreak of the virus,” he said.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Snr Sgt English said any driver could still be drug or breath tested at any time by police.
“The only thing that has changed is that we aren’t running the drug and drink driving stations where we pull over a number at cars at once to test drivers and that is due to current health restrictions,” he said.
With each breath test costing police up to 50 cents, and drug testing, from the initial roadside test to the laboratory test, worth up to $200 to state coffers, he said this didn’t mean motorists are less likely to be drug tested.
“We are still be out there on all the roads around the Gladstone region and we can pull over any car at any time and undertake both breath and drug testing,” Snr Sgt English said.