The department began using a swab cube testing kit about two weeks ago. The kit tests for 12 drugs simultaneously and can deliver results in as little as seven minutes.
Officers who suspect a driver of being impaired can use the kit, which is sealed and contains an oral swab, to determine what the person may be taking that caused the impairment.
Police Chief John Duchock said the kits are helpful in providing more evidence to support an officer’s observations during a field sobriety test. He cautioned that the test will not take the place of the full forensic blood test that impaired drivers currently take, but instead add another layer of evidence.
“This is just one of our many tools,” Duchock said. “We can use them on the roadside as a preliminary test prior to taking them for a blood test. It’s just another step in the process.”
Duchock said that more than 95 percent of the DUIs he sees in Dora are related to drugs, not alcohol. Every non-alcohol related DUI is taken by an officer to a local hospital for a blood test. Duchock said the city usually has to have five to eight tests performed each month.
These kits can be kept as evidence and used in court. All of Dora’s officers have been trained on the proper usage of the kits, which cost approximately $12 each.
The swab cube is produced by Premier Biotech and tests for alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, buprenorphine, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methamphetamines, methadone, opiates, oxycodone, phencyclidine, propoxyphene and marijuana.
Each cube features a series of strips along the inside of the container facing outward so the results can be read without reopening the cube. Once the swab bearing the saliva sample is inserted into the vial, those strips show a control line to show the test is working and will then show a positive or negative result. There is a key to reading the results on the outside of the vial.