‘New’ roadside test has a history

Published on April 27, 2019 by David Wylie

Another police saliva test is just down the road.

While many Canadians were a little preoccupied on 420, the federal government made a more quiet announcement.

It published a statement through the Canada Gazette that it’s in the process of adding another roadside screening device to the police toolkit.

The device, which goes by the name SoToxa, still needs to be approved by the Attorney General of Canada before it can be used by law enforcement.

It’s certainly a unique name, but if you search “SoToxa” online, you get little info.

It has a history

Change your search to “Alere,” and you get info about the Alere DDS-2 — SoToxa’s previous identity.

Now it’s been re-branded, at least for Canada, as the Abbott SoToxa™ Oral Fluid Collection Device.

Problems with the Alere device are well documented, including this report from the government of Canada that found serious concerns.

In a blog post, says the devices have a 7% malfunction rate. “Seven times out of 100, the tests just won’t work,” they say. “Officers listed the reasons as due to temperature, power or battery, weather, or unknown reasons.”

Despite its rocky history, Canada’s federal Drugs and Driving Committee has recommended its approval.

The company, meanwhile, is doing a good enough PR job to have media reporting it’s “a faster, better THC test.”

Then again, police currently use the Draeger 5000, which has its own issues.

Photo credits from top: GoToVan/flickr,