MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mitchell L. Doucette, MS
The William Haddon Jr Fellowship in Injury Prevention 2017 Co-Fellow
Center for Injury Research and Policy
Department of Health Management and Policy
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Currently in the U.S., 8 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and an additional 28 states permit marijuana for medical use. Some states have instituted a legal driving limit for marijuana intoxication, 5 ng/mL, and for Colorado specifically, research indicates the average time from law enforcement dispatch to blood sample collection was 2.32 hours—a period of time outside the window of legal sample collection under state law and peak THC detectability. Countries with similar marijuana driving limits perform roadside oral fluid testing for establishing intoxication at point of arrest.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: In our brief report, we discuss the scientific success of roadside oral fluid testing for marijuana-intoxication in European counties, the legality of roadside oral fluid testing within the U.S., and next steps for U.S. policy makers. A Belgian policy change allowing oral fluid testing as part of on-site screening for driving under the influence increased true positives and decreased false positives for marijuana-intoxication compared to the previous urine-based testing battery. Likely, oral fluid testing incident to arrest for suspected marijuana-related drugged driving is legally permissible given the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota that warrantless breath tests, compared to blood tests, are less invasive and thus generally permissible. Policy makers at the state and federal level should be familiar with oral fluid roadside testing and consider making oral fluid a permissible alternative for establishing marijuana-intoxication.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: It is important U.S. States with driving limits for marijuana-intoxication have policy and technology for enforcing drugged driving law. States that identify marijuana-intoxication by establishing probable cause and requiring blood sample as evidence could potentially benefit from the use of oral fluid testing. Policy makers should consider lessons from Europe and enhance objectivity in marijuana-related drugged driving.
Oral fluid testing for marijuana intoxication: enhancing objectivity for roadside DUI testing Mitchell L Doucette, Shannon Frattaroli, Jon S Vernick
Doucette ML, et al. Inj Prev 2017;0:1–3. doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2016-042264
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