Here’s what you need to know about roadside drug-tests

If you get pulled over by police for a random roadside drug test after a big weekend, you could test positive for drugs and be charged up to 24 hours after you last took anything, despite the fact that your driving is no longer impaired.

That information and more is available on a fact sheet put together by a NSW lawyer and the Northern Rivers Greens, which gives drivers the facts about roadside saliva drug tests, including what drugs can be detected (marijuana, MDMA and methamphetamine, but not cocaine or heroin), whether you can legally refuse a test (you can’t), and what will happen if you test positive (the maximum charge for a first offence is a $1,100 fine and three month licence disqualification).

According to the Australian Drug Foundation website, marijuana can be detected in saliva tests up to several hours after you’ve smoked it, while MDMA and methamphetamine can be detected up to 24 hours after you’ve last taken the drug (although the exact length of time depends on your body weight, metabolism and how much you’ve taken).

“It’s hard to talk generally because every individual’s metabolism and health status is different as well as the amount of the drug they’ve consumed,” forensic toxicologist Andrew Leibie told last year. “But if we’re talking — someone takes a drug on Saturday night and gets a saliva test on Monday morning — it’s very, very unlikely they’ll get a positive result, but theoretically not impossible.”

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge has slammed the roadside drug-testing policy as “misguided” and a “waste of money”. “[There’s] no proof the tests are effective in preventing crashes,” Shoebridge told

“They’re testing for a trace element sensitivity…making it a de facto criminal offence of having potentially minuscule quantities of drugs present in your system,” Shoebridge said. “We need to have roadside drug testing that tests for all drugs and for impairment. Without that it’s a grossly misguided policy.” Read the Northern Rivers Greens’ fact sheets about roadside drug-testing below or over at Facebook. [Article image via the Daily Mail]

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