EASTERN suburbs druggies are about to be smashed by Australian-first roadside drug tests specifically targeting the state’s high-flying cocaine set.
Police Minister Troy Grant has revealed in a budget estimates hearing that a loophole that until now has allowed cocaine-abusing motorists to avoid detection is about to be closed.
The City of Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs have been pinpointed as hot spots for drug use.
Mr Grant — a former cop — is pushing for NSW to be the first state in Australia to include cocaine in roadside drug tests.
It will be part of a radical plan to crack down on the rampant abuse of the drug in our ritziest suburbs. It’s understood he wrote to Roads Minister Melinda Pavey about a week ago for help to overhaul the Road Transport Act.
It comes after The Daily Telegraph revealed earlier this year that police were being forced to deploy extra resources to the “elite” eastern suburbs to deal with out-of-control partygoers high on cocaine. Woollahra and Waverley are the state’s top council areas for cocaine use, with the exception of the City of Sydney, according to the Bureau of Crime Statistics. Bondi is the other hotspot.
Random checks on drivers now only test for cannabis, ecstasy and ice.
Police Minister Tony Grant wants NSW to be the first state to test for cocaine during random roadside drug tests. Picture: Richard Dobson
Mr Grant said experts from forensics had been asked to test cocaine on the DrugWipe devices used by police. They will also run tests to see if over-the-counter drugs such as throat lozenges could trigger false positive results.
“When roadside testing of oral fluids was introduced in 2006, suitable equipment for detecting cocaine was not available,” Mr Grant said.
“Technology has advanced considerably since that time and the testing of oral fluid for cocaine is now feasible.”
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A trial in the eastern suburbs could take place by the end of the year. Cocaine testing of drivers already exists in the UK, where it’s the second most common drug detected.
A spokesman for Ms Pavey said she would be guided by advice from the Coroner.