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Drug Recognition Expert

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The Silver Spring Police Department is proud to be a participant in the nationwide Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program. Sergeant Todd Lindsay has been a certified DRE since 2009 and supports all local law enforcement officers with determining the level of drug impairment stemming from a DUI traffic stop.

Last year in Pennsylvania, more than 52,000 persons were arrested for driving under the influence. Nearly 25 percent of those arrested, nearly 12,000, were drug impaired (DUI-D). The increase in DUI-D arrest has been an ongoing trend since 2004 when Pennsylvania began training Drug Recognition Expert (DREs) officers. That training effort was augmented in 2007 when the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training was introduced to officers in Pennsylvania. ARIDE officers are given the tools to detect drugged drivers and the information to utilize the DREs to further investigate the potential DUI-D. According to C. Stephen Erni, executive director of the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania now has 92 DREs - an average of more than one per county.

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To be certified as Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), an officer must undergo a grueling training regimen which encompasses roughly 150 hours of both classroom and field training. Seven drug categories are exposed through the DREs standardized systematic evaluation process which is used not just in Pennsylvania, but nationally and internationally. The seven different drug categories covered during DRE training include central nervous system depressants, central nervous system stimulants, hallucinogens, dissociative anesthetics, narcotic analgesics, inhalants and cannabis. While certain field coordination tests can be duped by the chronic drugged driver, other bodily functions such as blood pressure, body temperature, and eye reaction, to name a few, are uncontrollable indicators which help a certified DRE determine whether the driver is under the influence of a drug.

For purposes of impaired driving enforcement in Pennsylvania, a "drug" is defined as "substances other than food intended to affect the structure of any function of the human body." Prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, and designer drugs such as Spice and "Bath Salts" will land you in jail for a DUI.

For more information on the Drug Recognition Expert program click here.