Drager Canada, the company behind the technology recommended by the federal government for roadside drug testing, has defended its device. With the Cannabis Act passing into law on Oct. 17, some police departments are unsure on the DrugTest 5000, while most say it will not replace traditional detection methods.
Rob Clark, managing director of Drager Canada, says the technology has been subject to misinformation and stressed the need for police departments to adapt to the device.
“I think there’s an unrealistic expectation in terms of how long it takes for the police to prepare themselves to roll something like this out,” he said.
One common criticism of the DrugTest 5000 is that it does not function well in cold temperatures and does not function at all below zero. The optimal performance temperature for the device lies between 4 C and 40 C. However, Clark points out the part of the machine that reads and analyses data stays in a police vehicle and is not exposed to cold.
While the oral swab collected from a driver will be in cold conditions, Clark adds it can be heated up when connected to the machine.
Despite defending some aspects of the DrugTest 5000, Clark seemingly confirmed another known issue with the device. Some police departments have said the device takes too long and Clark says it takes between 30 seconds to a minute to collect saliva and 4 ½ minutes to get the result from the machine.
He said it typically takes about 30 seconds to a minute to collect a saliva sample and 4 1/2 minutes to get the test result.
Kyla Lee, a criminal defence lawyer for Acumen Law in Vancouver wants to challenge the use of the devices in courts, saying it simply takes too long. Lee purchases her own DrugTest 5000 and used it on herself, claiming it takes even longer than Clark’s numbers. In preparation for her constitutional challenge, Lee says it took two and a half minutes to collect a saliva sample and eight to 10 minutes to get a result.