Second roadside test set to be approved in Canada

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The Government of Canada is set to approve a second option that law enforcement can use for roadside saliva tests to detect for drug impairment.

In an order made on April 20, the Canadian Department of Justice announced a proposal to add three pieces of equipment made by the company Abbott that are designed to be used together for roadside tests. The pieces include the SoToxa analyzer which collects a saliva sample and a cartridge that holds the sample.

“Approval of the SoToxa™, the Abbott SoToxa™ Test Cartridge and the Abbott SoToxa™ Oral Fluid Collection Device, when used together, as ‘approved drug screening equipment,’ would permit its use by law enforcement. A positive result would be a strong indication of recent use,” reads the order.

The company says that the system is faster and easier for law enforcement to use than other devices on the market and can be used successfully when officers are testing for THC before other steps must be taken to charge the person under Canada’s drug-impaired driving law.

“This helps identify the presence of possibly THC and or other drugs and allows it as a presumptive test, an extra point for the officer to say, OK, now I’m going to take the next step and go ahead and arrest the person and take a blood sample and do the normal procedure,” said Abbott’s chief toxicologist Christina Moore.

The SoToxa device and other similar devices are being introduced following the passing of Bill C-46, the legislation for impaired driving that came along with the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45.

The device is currently in a 30-day public review window following the post that the federal government proposed their intention for law enforcement to use the device. If the device is approved, Abbott has said that they have enough inventory to fill orders with training in both official languages.

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