Last year the Federal Justice Department approved the implementation of a new roadside drug test in Canada. Since then, the Dräger DrugTest 5000 has sparked a great deal of controversy due to its supposedly wavering accuracy. Canadians have discovered that the innovative new device may not be the most reliable source for Canada's law enforcement.
A criminal lawyer for a Vancouver-based law firm made a shocking discovery about the test last week. Lawyer Paul Doroshenko revealed on Saturday that he had been on his way to participate in cannabis testing using the device when he stopped by a local Tim Hortons and bought a poppy seed cake - 17 minutes later, he tested positive for opioids.
The Dräger DrugTest 5000 uses a saliva swab to detect traces of drugs and to determine whether or not a driver is under the influence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and benzodiazepines. However, its troublesome results have led Acumen Law to call for the federal government to recall the machines and resupply authorities with a more reliable model.
Doroshenko also revealed that he had tested positive for cocaine after drinking coca-tea before another round of cannabis testing:
“We had several individuals eat poppy seed loaf from Tim Hortons and poppy seed cake they made at home. All of those people tested positive in the saliva test for opiates, and later tested positive in subsequent urine tests,” Kyla Lee, a lawyer at Acumen Law explained during an interview with Global News. “So if a police officer were to pull those people over and give them a saliva test, they would be arrested.”
“That’s so concerning because in our legal system we have a zero-tolerance threshold for cocaine,” Lee continued. “Any detectable amount of cocaine in your system means you’re guilty of a criminal offence.”
Police services in Vancouver have already refused to use the device due to concerns over its accuracy.
Despite the compelling arguments from the law firm, Representatives for Dräger have noted that the device used by the lawyers was not the same model used in Canada.
“We don’t sell enforcement devices to anybody outside of law enforcement, anywhere,” explained the representative to GrowthOp. “What I suspect is that [Acumen] managed to go through a distributor in the U.S. and purchase one of the workplace devices, and now they’re just playing around with it and drawing conclusions.”
The legal team later admitted to purchasing the device from the US for their tests. However, they pushed back against the idea that devices were any different, affirming that data they collected during the testing would yield the same results on the devices used in Canada. "It’s the same threshold levels to trigger a positive reading on our device as it is in the Canadian programming," Lee explained to GrowthOp.