UK Government to introduce limits for drugs in blood in England and Wales for drivers by Nick Boley

The UK Government has introduced legislation (SI 2868/2014) to establish drug-driving limits for 16 controlled drugs in blood in England and Wales.

The drugs covered by this legislation, which comes into force on 2 March 2015, includes both illicit drugs and prescription drugs. The list also includes benzoylecgonine (BZE) which is a metabolite indicative of cocaine use.

The full list, together with the limits in blood (in µg/L) is as follows:

Controlled drug                                              Limit
Benzoylecgonine                                              50
Clonazepam                                                       50
Cocaine                                                                10
Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol                     2
Diazepam                                                          550
Flunitrazepam                                                 300
Ketamine                                                            20
Lorazepam                                                       100
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide                             1
Methadone                                                        500
Methylamphetamine                                        10
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine              10
6-Monoacetylmorphine                                    5
Morphine                                                             80
Oxazepam                                                         300
Temazepam                                                     1000

Forensic toxicology laboratories will need to be able to measure these drugs in blood using validated and accredited procedures accurately at these levels in order to play their part in the enforcement of this legislation.

The development of robust and effective roadside testing procedures to aid the police in enforcement is also something which should, ideally, be addressed in the short-term so that an equivalent system to that currently in place for the enforcement of drink-driving legislation can be instituted.


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