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Drug-impaired driving tests ‘not there yet,’ says top RCMP officer





Weeks into national cannabis legalization, a top RCMP officer says the tests being used to detect whether someone is driving high are “not there yet,” though they’re the best they’ve got.

In an exclusive interview with The Fifth Estate, Chief Supt. Dennis Daley admitted that, although parts of the current assessment are based on science, the tests themselves will be always be subjective.

“It’s important for Canadians to realize that we don’t have a tool right now, a similar on the alcohol side, a machine that will actually print out something that says ‘you are this, you are that.’ We do not have that,” says Daley.

“As the science improves, the technology no doubt will follow.”

Starting at midnight on Oct. 17 law enforcement agencies across the country ramped up efforts to nab cannabis-impaired drivers and began handing out hefty fines for violations of the Cannabis Act.

Roadside sobriety tests

In order to assess whether or not drivers are high, police officers are relying on standard field sobriety tests and their own trained Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). If a driver is thought to be impaired, he or she is put through a roadside standard field sobriety test (SFST) that includes an eye examination, the walk and turn test and one leg stand test.

Chief Supt. Dennis Daley says there is not yet a tool, as there is with alcohol, to test for drug-impaired driving. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Upon failing the test, the driver is brought to the station where a specialized DRE officer runs the driver through a 12-step process designed to detect impairment. The steps include taking clinical indicators (blood pressure, body temperature, pulse) and additional eye exams such as measuring your pupil size in different lighting conditions. Failure, or refusal to comply, with the field sobriety test or the DRE demand can also result in criminal charges that have the same penalties as impaired driving.

The RCMP runs the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program for all police officers in Canada and has trained 833 DREs across Canada. The Mounties have trained these specialized front-line officers and have 25 certification events planned this year, followed by an additional 25 to come.

Still early days for saliva test

Although the Department of Justice approved the use of the Drager DrugTest 5000, a handheld device that tests saliva for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, not everyone is convinced of its reliability.

Several cities across Canada, including Ottawa, have decided against using the device due to the questions being raised about the machine’s accuracy, especially in cold weather. Some RCMP detachments have bought saliva testing units, but others are waiting until the device is proven reliable and its findings are tested in court.

An investigation by The Fifth Estate at the beginning of the year highlighted problems with the DRE program being used in Canada as well as in the United States.  

Recent studies show that, although drug recognition experts are effective in being able to tell the category of drug someone may have consumed, they fall short in reliably confirming impairment.

Daley agrees that the test is subjective and does open doors to the possibility that sometimes the police can get it wrong, however he believes it contributes to keeping roads safe.  

“I do not believe that any police officer starts off their shift by saying ‘I want to make somebody’s life difficult today.’ We are human beings, we are faced with a particular situation, we rely on our training and our experience in order to hopefully do the right thing.”

Stronger message needed for youth

In February last year the Supreme Court of Canada upheld DREs to assist the court in providing opinion towards the ability to drive a motor vehicle impaired.  The case involved a cannabis-impaired driver who was acquitted in a lower court because of doubt over such expert testimony.

A Calgary police officer makes a traffic stop. Drug Recognition Experts are trained to determine whether drivers are drug-impaired. (Mike Symington/CBC)

In a statement to The Fifth Estate, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair said he is confident these new measure will save lives.

“Our government is making the necessary investments and supporting law enforcement with measures including a very successful ‘Don’t Drive High’ public awareness campaign,” Blair said in the statement.

However, Daley is concerned that the awareness campaign may not be working. “It doesn’t appear youth are getting the message of driving while high,” he said.

A Statistics Canada survey this summer found youth and young adults aged 15 to 24 were twice as likely as older Canadians to have ridden in a car driven by a potentially impaired driver,

“We have to concentrate on messages with respect to cannabis and driving much like 30 years ago we increased the education around alcohol-impaired driving.”


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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high





(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine





(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states





In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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