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Police swabbing drivers for drugs to expand across Michigan

Officials say it will take a few months before its launched statewide.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A program that had some police officers in five Michigan counties asking drivers to allow a swab of their mouth to determine if they've been using drugs is being expanded statewide.

Michigan State Police say it's part of an effort to cut down on so-called drugged driving.

"They were getting positive results that they were proving was beneficial especially now with legalization of marijuana. They want to expand the pilot project to get a better sampling of data," Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said.

RELATED: Roadside drug testing program winds down; marijuana tops list

The initial one-year pilot program started in late 2017 in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. Police officers who are trained as drug recognition experts collected oral fluid if they suspected a driver is impaired by drugs. During the initial pilot program, it was used on 92 drivers.

Twelve drivers were sampled in Kent County during the year-long pilot period. More than 60 were sampled in Washtenaw County.

"There was a number of the tests that had two drugs that tested positive - a lot of people use alcohol and marijuana or alcohol and drugs so officers even now, they go 'OK we've got alcohol,' they may not have taken that other step because they've got enough probable cause on the alcohol aspect," Becker said.

State police say the roadside test correlated well will lab test and blood test results. Officials say it will take a few months before it's launched statewide.

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