Getting into the holiday spirit can mean sipping eggnog by the fire and toasting to a better new year. But getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is not only illegal, it’s life-threatening. Police in Monaco are ramping up their narcotics hunt just in time for the holidays. New saliva sample kits which can detect the presence of drugs in the body are now part of the local law enforcement’s tool kit. If any driver is behaving suspiciously, police can now couple breathalyzer tests (which check blood alcohol levels) with the new mouth swabs, which can detect cannabis, opiates, ecstasy and other drugs.
Police will be on the lookout for signs of drug use, including difficult speech, bloodshot eyes, incoherency and hazardous behaviour. If an individual tests even slightly positive with one of the new single use saliva tests, a police procedure with be initiated. Any refusal to take the test will be considered a positive result. After a positive result is obtained, another test will be made at the CHPG to confirm the results.
The refrigerated samples will then be taken to Nice for further analysis, through a bilateral agreement between France and Monaco. According to Monaco’s Attorney General, Sylvie Petit-Leclair, the new swabs are reactive to various illicit substances such as cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamines and opiates.
Article 60 of Law 1,478 from 12 November 2019 concerns the penalties in the event of positive drug detection as: punishable by imprisonment from one to six months and a fine from 2,250 euros to 9,000 euros. Other possible penalties include the suspension of one’s drivers license.
During these police checks, necessary health precautions will be in place due to the ongoing pandemic. Police will be wearing masks and gloves and the samples will be taken with outstretched arms, respecting physical distancing protocols, in order to protect everyone from the spread of the virus.