Shoalhaven police to test for drug-drivers daily

More than one in five drivers tested positive for drugs in a weekend police blitz in the Shoalhaven.

Officers in Nowra, Sanctuary Point and Ulladulla conducted roadside drug tests on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 5pm. Of the 119 tests administered, 24 returned positive - 15 for cannabis and nine for methamphetamine.

"It's not a good result," said Sergeant Mick Tebbutt, of Nowra Highway Patrol.

"This stuff can stay in your system for a few days. It's not like alcohol, which comes out. It still shows up, and you're still driving under the influence of drugs."

Tests for drug-drivers involve a strip being scraped along a person's tongue, then analysed.

Just like a random breath test, the initial roadside test confirms only a positive or negative reading, with a further analysis showing a more detailed reading.

Sgt Tebbutt said Shoalhaven police currently only ran drug driving operations a few times a year, as NSW Police only had a handful of specialised drug-testing buses around the state and roadside testing was not yet commonplace.

However, the Shoalhaven will soon become one of the first commands in the state to test for drug-drivers on a daily basis, with officers to be trained in the use of drug testing equipment.

"The Highway Patrol here will soon start training for that, and we'll have our own instruments based here in Nowra full-time. It will be a daily thing, like RBT, and it looks like we have some need for it. People will be drug tested on a regular basis," Sgt Tebbutt said.

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