Dobbed in by the dunny: Roadside cocaine tests on the way

Dobbed in by the dunny: Roadside cocaine tests on the way

 

NSW police is set to test drivers for cocaine, adding to its mobile drug testing powers.

Sewage examinations conducted by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) found significant levels of cocaine in public plumbing beneath Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

In other words, the affluent have been dobbed in by their effluent.

It’s no secret that Australia has a drug problem surrounding both recreational and prescription medication.

Often portrayed as a problem for people from a lower socio-economic background, testing of sewage treatment plants across Australia shows that’s not necessarily the case.

Cannabis, Methamphetamine (found in speed and ice) and MDMA (found in ecstasy) are currently the three illicit drugs drivers can be tested for in NSW. But police will be able to test drivers for cocaine use in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs by the end of the year.

The affect that cocaine, or its active ingredient, BenzMax Mason-Hubersoylmethylecgonine, has on a person’s ability to perform certain tasks differs depending on the amount ingested and how it was taken. But in general, cocaine tends to decrease awareness and increase feelings of euphoria.

A drug monitoring program conducted by the ACIC found that capital cities had high levels of cocaine use but that use of MDMA was decreasing, while abuse of powerful opiates such as Fentanyl continues to increase.

Some synthetic painkillers are significantly more powerful than morphine, with abuse of prescription opiates resulting in thousands of deaths in the United States. The report also explains that tobacco and alcohol are still the most consumed substances in all states and territories.

What might surprise you is that testing will kick off in Bondi, one of the wealthiest areas of Sydney.

Why the Eastern Suburbs? The ACIC estimates that Sydney’s average cocaine consumption doubles that of any other capital city, weighing in around three times more than Melbourne’s use of the drug. The report suggests that around 300,000 Eastern Suburbs residents collectively consume just short of one kilogram of cocaine each weekend.

Previous drug-driving campaigns have been slammed as unfair to less-wealthy areas, so the change in approach may be welcomed by some communities as more meaningful than police simply adding another drug to their screening program.

The Northern Rivers and Tweed regions of NSW currently have reputations as drug-driving hot spots, and that could change with cocaine testing on the horizon for Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

What does this mean for drivers? While everyone is affected differently by both depressants and stimulants, cocaine is known to be detectable for a much shorter window than cannabis – approximately 12 hours as opposed to one week. Though saliva swabs may struggle to accurately test a driver’s impairment, a positive result may mean that they are driving while high.

 

 

Capture