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A drug recognition expert is a New York law enforcement officer who is specially trained to identify the symptoms of people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Based on the signs the person is displaying, a DRE can recognize what type of substance or substances he or she has been using. The officers are trained to spot drugs in seven different categories. According to the International Drug Evaluation & Classification Program, they are:

  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Marijuana and its synthetic counterparts
  • Depressants that affect the central nervous system
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Pain relievers that cause users to disassociate from their pain
  • Stimulants that affect the central nervous system

Drugged driving is a serious problem in New York. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, over 800 crashes were related to the use of illegal drugs in 2015. As a result, there are over 230 DRE police officers in New York. In order to become a DRE, an officer must have the necessary experience and background and complete the training course offered by the DEC. A DRE can evaluate a person suspected of drugged driving in the field or at a precinct after the person has been arrested.

In fact, New York not only has a large number of DRE officers, it won an award recently for developing and implementing an app for officers to use in the field that logs the officer’s observations electronically and compiles a database. This means that New York drivers should always caution. Driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired are treated as serious offenses. Multiple convictions can even lead to extremely costly fines and prison time.

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