Bakersfield Police using drug and alcohol swab test

It's a pilot program to test for alcohol and drug use after a DUI arrest.
BAKERSFIELD, CA -- Officers may have an easier and more efficient way to test whether someone is driving under the influence of both alcohol and hard drugs. Bakersfield is one of the first cities in the state to conduct a new mouth swab test. It only takes about eight minutes for a reading and is a possible alternative to the blood test that is required when a person is arrested for DUI.

The mouth swab is designed to detect trace amounts of drug use that hides in the person's saliva.

"We use this thing to test for cocaine, opiates, benzos, THC, marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and methadone," said Officer Ryan Wimberly.

"It's something we can use in the department to give us immediate results versus waiting on a blood test to come back, which has to go to a lab."

The downside to the test is that it must be administered either at the department or at Kern Medical Center in a short window of time.

"We try to do it in a three-hour window," said Wimberly.

"If they're involved in a collision or anything criminal, we do it right away."

Arrested drivers are mandated to take a blood test, but they can volunteer to take the swab test as well to help test the pilot program. Since September, the department has had 14 volunteers.

Bakersfield Police said they're trying to get 100 of these tests done next year, so the machine can be verified to be used as evidence in court.
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