TEXAS Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Drug Evaluation & Classification (DRE)
Some of the newest and recent cases dealing with DWI deal with intoxication by illegal drugs ( marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine). Another interesting area includes that of intoxication by LEGAL drugs, such as Ambien, cold medicine, or the combination of prescription drugs and alcohol.
Law enforcement, although in my opinion, is still lagging behind, has attempted to catch up with the trend of intoxication by drugs. They have started the Texas Drug Evaluation and Classification Program.
The Texas Drug Evaluation and Classification Program is funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation and administered by the Texas A&M University System, teex Law Enforcement Training Division.
The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program and procedures were initially developed in the 1970s by traffic enforcement officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. This procedure trains selected officers to utilize a standardized twelve step evaluation procedure, that enables the officer to determine whether an individual is under the influence of drugs, and then to determine the type of drug causing the observable impairment. Importantly, the DRE procedure enables the DRE to rule in (or out) many medical conditions, such as illness or injury, that may be contributing to the impairment. Although the primary focus of the DRE procedure is driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement, the procedures have been applied to Health and Safety Code violations, probation, parole, drugs in the workplace issues, and other areas where accurately identifying the drug-impaired individual is relevant.
The success of certain studies has precipitated the dissemination of DRE techniques to 32 states plus the District of Columbia. In addition, officers in Canada, Australia, Norway, Germany and Sweden have been successful in adapting DRE skills to their jurisdictions.
Today, approximately 4,000 nationwide are certified as DRE's by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). All DRE's can trace their expertise back to the 16 Los Angeles DRE's that developed the initial formal curriculum in 1986. It has been through the continued involvement of the LAPD that DRE has achieved its international stature. The LAPD has been instrumental in the expansion of DRE out of Los Angeles. LAPD DRE's are called upon time and time again to assist in the expansion of the program to new sites. In addition, LAPD DRE's have provided expert testimony on the scientific bases of DRE around the country.