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Saliva test for THC could become law enforcement tool

Drivers in Florida who police believe are impaired may be subject to other roadside tests besides the Breathalyzer in the future. Scientists at Stanford University have developed a saliva test that they say detects THC in a matter of minutes. Police would only need to take a cheek swab and then check results on a laptop or smartphone.

Researchers say that in addition to being faster and less invasive than the urine or blood test traditionally required to detect THC, a saliva test is superior because THC in saliva more accurately correlates with impairment. In fact, the next generation of the test may screen blood as well to provide information on the relationship between THC levels in blood and saliva.

The test works by detecting small molecules of THC, and it can be altered to detect other drugs such as morphine, cocaine and heroin. It may even be possible to screen for multiple drugs using the test. As more states continue to legalize marijuana, such a test has become increasingly necessary although some states have yet to set a legal limit for THC concentration in the blood.

People who are facing charges for drunk driving or for driving while impaired by drugs might want to speak to an attorney about their defense. These charges can be serious and may affect a person not just in a legal sense, but they can also harm his or her career and educational opportunities. The attorney might look into the circumstances around the charges and whether the person's rights were observed. If they were not, then the charges could be dismissed. Another possibility might be arguing that tests were not conducted properly. A person might also want to consider making a plea deal with the prosecution. This would mean pleading guilty, usually to lesser charges, and receiving a lighter sentence in exchange.

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