School Administrator’s &
Teacher’s Guide to- Recognizing the Signs & Symptoms of Drug
Sgt. Corey MacDonald, Esq
Drug Recognition Expert Instructor
The Importance of Recognizing Impairment
Interviews of victims and witnesses
Interrogations of suspects
Mens rea – criminal intent
2. Evaluation Considerations
Who will your audience be later?
Is this going to court, or to an
Duty to act?
3. Informal observations
Slurred speech and/or mouth agape
Can’t keep train of thought
Eyes (stare, bloodshot, glassy, pupil
Poor fine motor skills
4. Divided Attention Tests
Ask for two things at the same time.
Interrupt the driver and ask a
Be aware of attempts to avoid your
Ask “How much have you drank?” v.
“Have you been drinking?”
5. Field Sobriety Tests (FST)
Standardization of Field Sobriety
Tests – objective tests
Presenting a “United Front” to the
Reduce liability - “We treat everyone
Supervisors can better evaluate weak
points in cases, or training needs.
FSTs are divided attention tests.
6. The Four Recommended Field
Sobriety Tests (FST)
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
9 Step Walk & TurnTest:
One Leg Stand Test:
Rhomberg Balance Test:
7. Seven Major Drug Categories
& Symptoms of Use
(alcohol, barbiturates, anti-depressants., anti-psychotics,
Hallucinogens (LSD, ecstasy)
Dissociative Anesthetics (PCP,
Narcotic Analgesics (heroin, opiates,
Inhalants (acetone, toluene, nitrous)
Cannabis (marijuana, hashish, hash
8. Alternative Tests
Finger to nose
Alphabet (A-Z, not sung)
9. What is the cause?
Look for physical symptoms
Look for behavioral symptoms
10. When to call a DRE
Arrest based on probable cause of drug
or alcohol impairment
Breathalyzer or PBT test less than
0.09 and impairment does not match BRAC
0.09 or more
11. The Totality of the Circumstances
SFST’s and our observations are not an
exact science, they are based strongly in common sense.
Training and experience.
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