There have been in excess of 300 certificates of analysis issued by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) under the new drug-driving regulations since they were introduced last April, this newspaper has learned.
According to figures provided by the Bureau to the Medical Inde- pendent (MI) as of Friday, 23 Feb- ruary, the MBRS has issued 308 ‘Green Certificates’ for concentra- tions of cannabis and cocaine under the new legislation. In addition, in 93 of those cases, ‘Blue Certificates’ with confirmed presence of other drugs were also issued.
Last April saw the introduction of new drug testing regulations for driv- ing. The regulations enable gardaí to test motorists whom they suspect of driving under the influence of a range of legal and illegal substances known to impair driving. The new drug test- ing devices involve testing a sample of a driver’s oral fluid for the presence
opiates (eg, heroin, morphine) and benzodiazepines.
The Director of the Bureau Prof Denis Cusack told MI that the new drug-driving regulations were initial- ly “slow to take off because the gardaí obviously had to have time to train enough gardaí on the roadside drug testing” but they represent “a big change [and] it is having an impact”.
Drink-driving remains a key is- sue for the Bureau, however.
“There was a perception that drink-driving was a thing of the past, but our figures from the last few years shows that it is still a very big prob- lem. In fact, the biggest drugs-driving problem is alcohol, because alcohol is a drug, a social drug that is licensed and permitted,” Prof Cusack stated.
Source: David Lynch, The Medical Independent, 05/03/18