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Police to start using drug-drive testing kits on roadside

The 'drugalyser' kits are the first to detect cannabis and cocaine. Credit: PA

The first mobile drug-testing kit has been approved by the government as part of a crackdown on drug driving.

Called Drugwipe, it is the first portable device that can detect the presence of cannabis and cocaine, two of the most common substances used by drug drivers, by analysing a small quantity of saliva.

Results are indicated by the appearance of lines on the device - similar to a pregnancy test - within eight minutes.

Following a positive reading, the police will take the individual to the police station for a blood sample, which will be used in any subsequent prosecution.

The penalty under the new drug offence will be 12 months disqualification, a fine up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison or both.

Policing minister 'We'll drive drugs menace off the road'

Policing minister 'We'll drive drugs menace off the road'. Credit: PA

The policing minister has said new plans to test drivers for drugs will "drive this menace off the road".

This is something that has plagued society for far too long.

People will have exactly the same view of drug-driving as they do of drink-driving: it is an abhorrent thing to do.

Not only do you put your own life at risk, but you put innocent people's lives at risk.

We will drive this menace off the road.

– Policing minister Mike Penning

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Police to test drivers with 'drugalyser' kits

The Christmas and New Year holiday season will see drivers stopped by police and tested for drugs by the side of the road in a war on drug-driving.

The Telegraph has reported that the Home Office approved roadside testing kits that will analyse samples of saliva instantly to detect illegal substances as well as so-called "legal highs".

Police to test drivers with 'drugalyser' kits. Credit: PA

It said that police officers will also use the kits to catch drivers who have taken prescription medicines like strong painkillers, sleeping pills and drugs to treat anxiety, that can hinder concentration on the road.

It has been reported that ministers will order police to carry the "drugalyser" kits alongside conventional "breathalysers", which test motorists for alcohol consumption.

New drugs from labs 'as quickly and safely possible'

Officials said the review would examine how precision medicine and digital health technology could enable new products to be brought from the laboratory "as quickly and safely possible".

"This will transform the landscape of drug development from the 20th-century model to a world century model to a world in which the NHS becomes a partner in innovative testing, proving and adopting new drugs and devices in research studies with real patients," Mr Freeman told The Times.

"For too long NHS patients have seen drugs and innovations developed in the UK but not adopted here in our NHS.

"We are determined to unlock the power of our NHS to be a test-bed for the 21st-century medical innovations we all need, getting NHS patients faster access, reducing the cost of drug development and boosting our life science sector."

Plan to cut time taken for patients to receive new drugs

Ministers are promising to cut years off the time it takes for National Health Service patients to receive life-saving new drugs.

The Government is launching a review looking into a radical overhaul of the way that promising new drugs are tested and cleared for approval.

Plan to cut time taken for patients to receive new drugs. Credit: PA

Life sciences minister George Freeman said unlocking the power of the NHS to be a "test-bed" for new medical innovations could dramatically reduce the time it takes for patients to gain access to new treatments.

The Department of Health said a fresh approach was being made possible by ground-breaking developments in genomics and digital technology.

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