The state does not have an approved roadside drug test, like a breathalyzer for alcohol. Massachusetts State Police are testing one, but it is a slow process. There is also a shortage of drug recognition experts. The specially-trained police officers are better able to spot high drivers and their testimony can help prosecutors build a stronger case. And, finally, Massachusetts does not have what’s called a per se limit for drugs. For alcohol, the per se limit is point 08. Too drunk to drive. Conley supports per se limits, but critics argue different drugs affect people differently and it’s harder to measure.
“You’re basically giving people a license to kill,” said Candace Lightner who heads the non-profit We Save Lives.
Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980, but has shifted her focus to drugged driving saying the issue is not getting enough attention.
“I think the biggest problem we have is legislators who are still either in denial about the problem of drugged driving or who haven’t been educated enough about the solutions,” she said.