MARION, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost unveiled a new rapid drug testing pilot program he says will benefit law enforcement agencies across the state on Thursday.
The program was rolled out in an effort to ensure safety and help officers obtain drug results more quickly during investigations, according to a release from the Attorney General’s Office.
Law enforcement will be given handheld mass spectrometers with the intention of identifying methamphetamine, cocaine and marked pharmaceutical pills.
According to Yost, the drugs detected will still need to be forwarded to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for analysis, but the device will speed up the process by confirming what type of drug it is law enforcement is handling so the proper precautions can be made.
“This is a turning point for our community to attack the supply and demand side of this problem,” Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Ray Grogan said. “Having the tools at our disposal for quick confirmation allows for faster charges, which gets people into treatment quicker. This is a game changer and will undoubtedly save lives.”
The Pickaway and Ross County sheriff’s offices, as well as the Circleville and Chillicothe police departments, are just some agencies Yost says the program will benefit.
The groups selected to participate in the program were chosen in part based on the amount of evidence submitted to BCI over the past 18 months.
“This pilot program will enhance officer safety, provide prompt information for prosecutors and hopefully will become the normative proof in the courtroom,” Yost said. “Taking BCI’s lab capabilities into the community provides real-time results and is a force multiplier.”