Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Recreational versus Therapeutic Drug Dose and DWAI

DRE = Drug Recognition Evaluator
I just came back from Tucson, AZ where I attended a DUI conference on DWI and DWAI drugs cases. One of the main speakers Dr. Fran Gengo (University of Buffalo) spoke on DRE (drug recognition evaluation) as well as Driving While Impaired by drugs. Now Dr. Gengo is a pharmacologist and understands toxicology at a high level.

How drugs are dosed, metabolized by the body, and can potentially impair a driver is complicated stuff. Now the DRE and the drug recognition evaluations used by the police have many issues. Can a law enforcement DRE officer using a DRE (yes, the person and the exam) tell you are New York DWAI drugs?

New York State Drug Recognition Evaluations May Confirm Drug Use

There are quite a few people in this country who take drugs. In any given week 60% of the driving public may in fact have a drug in their system. Some of these medications can affect driving. Whether a medication does in fact cause impaired driving is another story entirely. That is one of the problems with the DRE. It is merely presumptive in that, there may be the presence of a drug but to prove that the drug is impairing driving ability is not clearly measured by the evaluation.

Blood Testing Using Gas Chromatography Are Only Presumptive of Drug Use

Police forensic blood testing can reveal drugs in your system. They can confirm drug use but again these tests are not determiners of a drug dose that is impairing to driving. Many people take drugs for therapeutic reasons. Drugs help the population deal with health problems and chronic diseases.

Therapeutic Drug Use is Not Indicative of New York DWAI Drugs

How many people take drugs daily for depression, AHDD, anxiety, chronic pain, to prevent migraines, and a hundred other valid reasons?

There is a world of difference between those taking drugs recreationally versus therapeutically. I guess the question that Dr. Gengo posed:

Are We Criminalizing People with DWAI Drugs Charges Who Use Medications for Therapeutic Reasons?

Drug use by those over 50 years of age is on the rise, and I'm not talking about recreational drug use. There are many older people who are taking medications that could cause impaired driving when taken in recreational doses and for recreational reasons but these people are NOT. They take these medications daily to assist with their life, and their activities of living.

Many people do not compromise their driving by taking these medications therapeutically. Because the dosage is therapeutic NOT recreation. Because of tolerance these people become used to the drug, and it's effects lessen over time. Because drugs prescribed for appropriate reasons and used properly should not be arrested just because a drug is in their body.

Recognizing Drug Use Does Not Equal Proving Driving While Impaired 

"I'm NOT a security guard, I'm a security monitor."
                                                        LifeLock commercial

The LifeLock commercial advertises that the recognition (monitoring) of a problem is not the fixing of the problem. This is very much on point with what New York DREs actually do. The DRE recognizes that someone may in fact be on a drug. Even this is suspect, and not 100% accurate. But even if the DRE recognizes DRUG USE this is NOT AN INDICATION OF DRUG IMPAIRMENT.

New York Drug Recognition Evaluations are NOT Drug Impairment Evaluations. They may infer drug use but whether it is merely therapeutic drug use, and not impairing is anyone's guess.