اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 4 أكتوبر 2023 07:02 مساءً
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and Saskatoon police are warning that some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines can impair drivers as much as alcohol or cannabis, and lead to similar criminal charges.
SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy said people taking meds that might impair their driving should follow doctor's orders and make sure they understand the effects of the drugs.
"Just to understand how [the medication] is going to affect you, because if it makes you feel different, you're going to drive different," McMurchy said.
Saskatoon police Const. Patrick Foster is trained in drug recognition.
"We're increasingly aware of it, because the police have more tools and training to detect impaired drivers with different tests," Foster said.
SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy said people taking meds that might impair their driving should follow doctor's orders and make sure they understand the effects of the drugs. (CBC News)
Several drugs were discussed at Wednesday's media event by police and SGI:
Sleep medications and anti-anxiety pills like Xanax can cause confusion, lack of co-ordination, and impaired or lost motor skills.
Drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine or Ritalin — a prescription drug — can cause anxiety, body tremors, dry mouth, grinding teeth, increased alertness and talkativeness.
Fentanyl can be identified with constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, a state of euphoria, nodding out, or slowed breathing.
"Tolerance is a concern. People do become tolerant to all types of things, whether it's their prescription drugs or illicit drugs," Foster said.
"A lot of times people may be tolerant and able to accurately pass our psychophysical tests like the walk and turn and say, but clinically their body would still be showing, signs of impairment or signs that there's something introduced to their body."
Foster said police still need some type of evidence to suggest that a person is impaired and cannot randomly test people.
McMurchy said that if police suspect that a driver is impaired, they can do a breathanalyzer test, a mouth swab, or get a drug recognition expert to evaluate the person.
Foster said there are several steps an officer can take once they have the grounds to believe someone is impaired while driving, including a dark room examination.
Foster gave a demonstration of a dark room examination, that is when he puts a person in a dark room, then shines a flashlight in their eyes to measure how their pupils dilate or constrict. (CBC News)
Foster demonstrated this type of exam, showing how an officer puts a person in a dark room, then shines a flashlight in their eyes to measure how their pupils dilate or constrict as part of the examination.
SGI said that people who are consuming drugs or alcohol should find a safe way to get home. If charged with impaired driving, the vehicle will be seized at the roadside and there will be an immediate license suspension until the charges are resolved in court.
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