OHIO – A new breakthrough on detection devices could give police a new piece of equipment for fighting people under the influence.
The law reads: “Controlled substances–An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle under any of the following circumstances: (1) There is in the individual’s blood any amount of a:
(i) Schedule I controlled substance, as defined in the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act”
Researchers at University of Pittsburgh chemistry and engineering departments are working on a device to measure the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in a user’s breath. Research recently published says the new device can detect THC from other compounds found on breath such as CO2, water, ethanol, methanol, and acetone. Machine learning algorithms were utilized to improve the selective detection of THC with better accuracy at increasing quantities of THC delivered to the chemiresistor.
However, unlike alcohol where a driver is considered impaired at a certain level (.08) in Ohio, there is no level set yet in the state in which a driver is considered impaired on marijuana. Pitt researchers said, many more studies need to be done to reach a conclusion on impairment when it comes to THC, the component in marijuana that gives a high.
Not ready for police use, but the system is patented and could be available to law enforcement in the near future.