PEI

Drugged driving arrests on the rise

Charlottetown police have a warning for anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel while on drugs: your odds of getting away with it are going down.

10 Islanders charged already this year

More police officers on P.E.I. are getting training on how to spot drivers under the influence of drugs. (ambrozinio/Shutterstock)

Charlottetown police have a warning for anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel while on drugs: your odds of getting away with it are going down.

"Every year, we're getting a little better and our charges are increasing," said Const. Ron Kennedy, a drug recognition expert with the city's police force.

Kennedy said already this year, across P.E.I., 10 Islanders have been charged with driving while impaired by drugs. That's compared to 12 charges in all of last year, and just six the year before that.

Kennedy credits more resources and training. Back in 2012, there were only two drug recognition experts working in the province. Now — between Charlottetown Police, Summerside Police, and the RCMP — there are 10.

More training for all officers

All police forces on the Island are working together on the issue, says Charlottetown Const. Ron Kennedy. (CBC)

More patrol officers are also being trained in how to do the initial screening for drug impairment, which helps them determine whether to call on an expert.

"Our officers are more aware of drug impaired drivers through our training. They all know that in a situation, they can just call a drug recognition officer," said Kennedy.

"It doesn't make any difference if it's a Charlottetown Police officer. They can get one of us or they can get the RCMP. We all work with each other and that's the beauty of it. We always try to have one available."

Unlike with alcohol, there is no legal limit for drug use, nor is there an approved roadside screening device. A charge can only be laid after a drug recognition expert runs a series of sobriety tests and checks a driver's temperature, blood pressure, and pupil sizes, among other things.

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