Pacific Beach: Drager 5000 tests suspected drugged drivers on th - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Pacific Beach: Drager 5000 tests suspected drugged drivers on the spot

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego police are going high-tech to test drivers they suspect are high by using the Drager 5000 - which can confirm the presence of drugs using saliva.

Like a breathalyzer tests for alcohol, the Drager tests for drugs like marijuana, amphetamine, diazepam, meth, cocaine and opiates.

On Wednesday, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman joined the Pacific Beach town council for a question and answer session on the new tool.

Chief Zimmerman told residents the device is needed since Prop 64 passed in California last November - legalizing recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Police first used the Drager 5000 during Saint Patrick's weekend. Since then, it has been deployed at ten DUI checkpoints and three saturation patrols. Only two individuals have taken the test. The results were positive for drugs - they were arrested.

"The whole goal is we want to make our streets safer for everyone," said Chief Zimmerman.

Unlike a blood alcohol content level of .08, there is no level of impairment for THC in California.

"We are looking for a person who is driving under the influence of a drug - illegal or legal," said Mark McCullough, San Diego Police.

A lot of questions remained for some Pacific Beach residents, but some are endorsing the roadside drug test.

"If you are under the influence I am ok with any measures to test whatever drugs are in your system," said Pacific Beach resident, Rachel.

The City and San Diego County district attorney said they have prosecuted more DUI and related cases this year compared to last year.

San Diego Police Foundation donated two Drager 5000 - each cost $5,500.

Los Angeles and Denver are among the cities in the country that already use the Drager 5000.

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