New handheld device lets police test for meth, MDMA, cocaine

A new device which allows police to test drugs in real time will be trialled across Auckland and Canterbury Central.

The handheld device was developed by police and ESR forensic researchers and will test for the three most commonly used and dangerous drugs - methamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine. 

Acting Assistant Commissioner Mike Johnson and Dion Sheppard, the forensic research and development project manager for ESR, will demonstrate the device in Auckland on Thursday ahead of its six month trial.

Its development follows new rules about roadside drug testing which were introduced by the Government in December.

The change in legislation will come into force in 2021 and will allow police to conduct saliva drug testing on drivers. Anyone found to have drugs in their system will be fined and immediately suspended from driving for at least 12 hours. 

Drivers will also face criminal penalties if they fail a compulsory impairment test and blood tests confirm impairing levels of drugs in their system.