State police speak out on recent AAA drugged driving report

HARTFORD -- According to a recent study by AAA, 63 percent of Connecticut drivers who were killed in a car crash, and were tested for drugs post-mortem, had drugs in their system.

That number is 20 percentage points higher than the national average, according to a study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

For Connecticut State Police, drugged driving of all kinds has always been on their radar, whether it be from marijuana, prescription pain medicine, or cocaine and heroin.

Trooper First Class Dicocco said the force uses a DRE, or Drug Recognition Expert, training program that encompasses both drugs and alcohol consumption.

In a general sense, Dicocco said a lot of the field tests and red flags troopers look for with drugged driving are the same as they are for alcohol, although a driver’s performance on some tests is expected to vary depending on what substance or substances are present in the bloodstream.

Dicocco said a driver, after failing a DRE test, will usually be given a blood test to confirm the presence of drugs.