HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Most people associate a DWI with driving under the influence of alcohol. What many don’t know, prescription drugs can also fall under that category. The Hot Springs Police Department has three drug recognition experts for those situations.
The signs on the road are the same.
“Left of center, no headlights, speeding, impeding traffic,” Hot Springs Police Officer First Class Shawn Lowrey said.
This leads an officer to pull the person over. They’ll first check for the smell of alcohol or marijuana then put them through a field sobriety test. Let’s say this person does poorly on the test but there’s no smell, and the breath test comes back zero.
“Then we can take them into custody,” Lowrey said.
That’s where Lowrey is brought in. He’s a Drug Recognition Expert and is on call for these kinds of situations. He’ll put you through the same sobriety test, plus a few more.
“Including finger to nose, and a balance test along with checking their pupil size, their blood pressure and their temperature and asking quite a bit of questions,” Lowrey said.
From there, he’s able to figure out what drug category the person is in. The two worst are Opiods and CNS Depressants. Officer Lowrey says what many people don’t know is that these kinds of prescriptions can have the same or even worse effects than alcohol.
“It does affect your vision, your time, distance management,” Lowrey said.
He wants to stress, it doesn’t matter if you got it from your doctor or not, driving while intoxicated is still against the law.
Officer Lowrey is called in to help other law enforcement agencies with drug enforcement. He also teaches a DRE class to get other officers certified.https://www.kark.com/news/local-news/hot-springs-police-officer-specializes-in-recognizing-drivers-under-the-influence-of-prescription-drugs/