Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dead drink-drivers 'often also drugged'

Dominion Post: Dead drink-drivers 'often also drugged'

By CHALPAT SONTI
More than half the drink-drivers who die on the roads are likely to have other drugs in their bodies, research shows.

Police will use the preliminary [huh! and this is evidence based? ] results of the long-term study to push for changes to the drugged-driving laws. A report on the study's findings is due to be presented to the Government by the end of the year. [after the election!]

Police have stepped up training of frontline traffic officers in the skills needed to detect drugged drivers. [highly subjective.... based on prejudices and passing the attitude 'test']

Results from the study by police and Environmental Science and Research - the first in about 20 years into the extent of driving under the influence of drugs - also showed that up to a third of drivers killed on the roads and later tested had traces of cannabis in their blood. [unsurprisingly, they had cannabis metabolites in their blood. This is the logical equivalent of sucking on the exhaust of a car expecting it to tell us accurately 'to the standards of evidence required for a criminal conviction' what speed it did today. Laughable! ]

The study has looked at samples from more than 200 dead motorists [drivers?] in the past year. It estimated 33 per cent had cannabis in their blood and 24 per cent had more than the legal limit of alcohol. Methamphetamine (3 per cent), methadone (2 per cent) and tranquillisers such as Valium (2 per cent) also featured.

[how many cannabis consumers in the general population?, how many in the demograph who died? This is a rubbish study. Cannabis = zero tollerant, Alcohol impairment is is dose dependent and tollerated.]

Nine of those who died had traces of methamphetamine, though just one had taken the drug without alcohol.

More than half the drink-drivers who died had traces of other drugs in their system. [argghh, how way ways can you say the same thing in one article]

The study has been done in conjunction with a roadside drug-testing trial. People suspected of being under the influence of drugs can be asked - but not made - to do a series of balance or coordination tests, such as touching the tip of their nose.

If they fail, a medical practitioner can then decide if they are capable of driving. If not, they can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs, for which the maximum penalty is two years in prison or a $6000 fine, as well as a one-year licence disqualification.

Police want the wording of the law changed from incapable of driving to impaired by drugs, a much easier standard to prove.

Road policing spokeswoman Sarah van der Heyden said it was hoped the study would help the push for the law change, which would bring New Zealand in line with Britain.

Police had found many impaired drivers during the roadside trial, but there had been no prosecutions of motorists who were incapable of driving.

[ comprehension 101 - desconstruct this and it is meaningless]

British policeman Steve Collier, who is training New Zealand police in drugged-driving identification techniques, said British police went through a five-year battle to have the law changed.

The balance tests, which British police could demand, stood up as evidence in court and were often filmed.

Drugs were [present, with no accounting for impairment] a contributing factor in the deaths of about 5 per cent of road deaths in 2003."

[the last sentence is about Great Britain, but you were not supposed to notice that.. In GB heroin cocaine and its derivatives spill from the drug routes, not so New Zealand. The presentation of this preemptive analysis from the NZ data is obsfucory and disengenous at this time. It smacks of self interest.]
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