Computer games test for drugs

A test for motorists who are driving under the influence of drugs has been unveiled by the Home Office.

Dec 15, 2005
By David Howell
Detective Chief Superintendent Jon McAdam

A test for motorists who are driving under the influence of drugs has been unveiled by the Home Office.

Last year the police were given powers to test motorists at the roadside with a series of physical tests to check for possible misuse of drugs. The pilot scheme run by Derby-shire police found that 31 out of the 92 motorists stopped were driving under the influence of drugs such as heroin and cannabis.

To bring the tests for dugs up to the 21st Century, scientists have turned to laptop computers and video games as the traditional tests have proven to be too subjective. The new test is based on a Sony Vaio notebook computer that is loaded with a specific selection of games that are designed to test the suspects’ responses. The system is still in the early stages of development, but it’s hoped it can be available to officers by 2007. In the meantime Home Office scientists are also working on what has been dubbed the ‘drugalyser’ that is hoped will operate in much the same way as today’s breathalysers do.

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