Gardai will be out in force on Ireland’s roads this Christmas, with a new drug testing device designed to deliver rapid results during roadside drug tests.

The pocket-sized Securetec DrugWipe® 6s device has been introduced by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) as part of a six-week Christmas and New Year road safety enforcement campaign organised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), and An Garda Siochana, Ireland’s national police and security service.

The device can test for a greater range of drugs at the roadside, including cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine, and works like an antigen test.

This means that the test will show a positive result for the corresponding drug if the drug’s antibody is present in a person’s sample.

A deterrent for alcohol and drug use

It is hoped that the annual road safety campaign, along with this new drug testing device, will deter drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the festive period.

Research by the RSA and Gardai over the last five years shows that there were 86 deaths on Ireland’s roads over the Christmas and New Year period, and 765 serious injuries.

And in 2022 alone, RSA figures show that there have been 146 fatalities on the roads, with a further 1,174 people seriously injured.

Professor Denis Cusack, Director of the MBRS, said: “The rollout of this enhanced roadside drug testing system is extremely timely as we see a continued increase in drug detection in drivers.

“In 2016, the MBRS tested 1,113 samples for drugs other than alcohol. By 2021, that figure had increased to 4,321 – a near four-fold increase.

“While alcohol remains the most frequently detected intoxicant in driving in Ireland, cannabis is the second most frequently found intoxicant and its detection in drivers is continuing to increase, with cocaine being the third most commonly found intoxicant drug detected.”

How can drugs affect your driving

As an accredited laboratory providing market-leading drug and alcohol testing services in Ireland, AlphaBiolabs is all too familiar with how different substances can affect the body and impair a person’s judgement.  

One of the most important things to remember is that drugs affect different people in different ways, so not everybody will have the same experience while using the same substances.

This means that driving under the influence of drugs – whether they are prescription drugs that have been acquired legitimately, or illegal drugs acquired via illicit means – can be extremely dangerous.

Different substances can affect your driving in a variety of ways. Examples include:

  • Marijuana – can impact coordination, judgment, and reaction times
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine – these drugs can increase impulsive behaviour, leading to reckless and dangerous driving
  • Opiates e.g. heroin – these drugs can cause drowsiness and confusion

Certain prescription medications and over the counter medicines can also cause side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness, so it is important to read the labels on these medications and avoid driving if you feel unwell or otherwise impaired.  

Drug testing you can trust

With over 15 years’ experience providing drug testing for members of the public, the legal sector and the workplace sector, our award-winning laboratory is fully equipped to support you with your drug testing needs.

We can test for a wide range of drugs and their metabolites using a variety of samples including urine, oral fluid (saliva), hair and nails, with rapid results.

Our nationwide network of sample collectors can visit you at a location of your choice to collect your samples for testing.

Alternatively, you can choose to have your samples collected by a professional AlphaBiolabs clinician at our Dublin walk-in centre.

For more information or to request a quote, call our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Services team on 01 402 9466 or email info@alphabiolabs.ie.  

Drug Testing Services

Explore drug testing designed for members of the public, the legal profession, and businesses.