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Scientists develop breath test for drugs

The Breathalyzer test is a well-known device for just about every driver in Tennessee. Results of breath tests often lead to DUI arrests and convictions, depending on the circumstances of individual drunk driving cases.

WebMD reports that a new kind of breath test might be around the corner. It would be able to detect illegal drug substances on suspects' breath. For the many places where officials are vigilant regarding DUI convictions, this device could be a welcomed addition to their tool belts.

The breath test is in development in Sweden. So far, its creators' tests indicate that the drug breath test can detect traces of substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine, various prescription drugs and more within 24 hours after consumption. 

Traditionally, law enforcement in Tennessee and throughout the country use breath tests to try to detect alcohol in a person's system. Getting drug-related evidence requires more invasive processes such as urine samples or blood tests. 

If police begin to use a new device to try to make impaired driving arrests, society is faced with the threat of more false DUI accusations based on potentially faulty science. Breathalyzer tests have been around for years, and even they result on false test results.

If new devices are adopted, lawmakers, law enforcement and society as a whole better be confident that people's rights are not being violated and that liberty is not being threatened because of naive reliance on science. Machines don't always work, and drivers should not pay the price for defective devices with false DUI convictions. 

Source: WebMD, "Roadside Breath Test for Drugs Could Be on Horizon," Robert Preidt, April 26, 2013

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