SGI and Saskatoon Police talk impairment, testing at presentation
SGI and the Saskatoon Police Service held a special presentation, to lay out just how police officers make decisions on impaired drivers. That included SGI Manager of Media Relations Tyler McMurchy, who wants people to be aware of the impact even legal drugs can have on drivers. "We want people to think about the fact that any kind of drug can potentially impair your ability to try, and it doesn't mean that you can't take your medication and drive. But it just means you have to be thoughtful about it and have those good conversations with your health practitioners about how this prescription might potentially affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and make the appropriate decisions." He was joined by Saskatoon Police Service Constable Patrick Foster, who is a Drug Recognition Expert officer. Foster stressed the difference between impairment and intoxication when it comes to recognizing a drug's effects. "I think it's really important to understand the difference between impairments and intoxication ... Impairment refers to a general decline in an individual's physical and mental abilities which may or may not be visibly noticeable. It can affect an individual's ability to perform tasks, make decisions, and react appropriately. Impairment can occur even at lower levels of substance abuse that might not result in intoxication." "I think we're all familiar with intoxication, and that's a noticeable and measurable symptom. Like everyone knows, most people know when they're at that point. So it's really important to understand that impairment doesn't necessarily mean you're intoxicated. Impair means a slight degradation in your skills to operate a legal vehicle safely. He also broke down the seven different categories of drugs that they look at which can impair drivers on the road. Alcohol - hard liquors, beer Central nervous system depressants - sleep medications, anti-anxiety medications Inhalants - anesthetic gases, volatile substances Dissociative anesthetics - ketamine, cough syrups Central nervous stimulants - cocaine, Ritalin Hallucinogens - MDMA, mushrooms Narcotic Analgesics - morphine, methadone What an officer can do is also determined by what stage of an investigation they're at. If an officer is reasonably suspicious that someone is driving impaired, they can use a few testing methods such as roadside tools like field sobriety testing. Once they've built their grounds for belief, that's when an officer can make an arrest and potentially use further testing methods, such as a demand for testing of a blood draw. In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, DiscoverEstevan encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverEstevan app.