Harrisburg - In Pennsylvania's latest effort to bolster highway safety, 11 state
troopers and five municipal police officers have been certified by the International
Association of Chiefs of Police as drug recognition experts, or DREs, Pennsylvania State
Police acting Commissioner Frank Noonan announced today.
"The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program is a national effort to train
police officers to determine when an individual has been driving under the influence of
drugs and to identify the type of drug causing the impairment," Noonan said.
The program also trains officers to recognize whether an individual is suffering from a
medical condition rather than drug impairment, he said.
"Alcohol is the intoxicant most often responsible for impaired driving, but it's
not the only one that renders individuals incapable of safe driving," Noonan said.
"Drug Recognition Experts are trained to determine if a driver is under the influence
of illegal drugs, prescription drugs or any other substance that impairs a person's
ability to operate a vehicle safely."
Motorists should know that they may be incapable of driving safely and can be charged
with driving under the influence after ingesting any intoxicating substance, whether the
substance is legal or illegal, prescribed by a physician or purchased over the counter,
"Individuals need to be aware of how taking a particular drug will affect their
body," Noonan said.
Pennsylvania's DRE training program is coordinated by Cpl. David Andrascik of the PSP
Bureau of Patrol's Driving Under the Influence/Field Operations Section.
The program, which was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
and approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, includes classroom
study and hands-on exercises for participating officers, Andrascik said. As part of the
training, participants are required to conduct evaluations of actual subjects impaired by
In 2004, Pennsylvania became the 39th U.S. state to have a Drug Evaluation and
Classification Program approved by the IACP. With the additional officers obtaining
certification, the state now has 70 troopers and 22 municipal police officers certified as
Since the program began, Andrascik said, Pennsylvania DREs have conducted more than
4,000 evaluations of people believed to be impaired by substances other than alcohol. Last
year alone, he added, the DREs conducted 1,450 evaluations.
In about 39 percent of the cases, Andrascik said, the motorists were determined to be
under the influence of central nervous system depressant drugs such as alprazolam and
diazepam. Other drugs identified in the evaluations included marijuana (38 percent),
narcotic analgesic drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone (35 percent) and central
nervous system stimulant drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines (12 percent).
In about 37 percent of the evaluations, the motorists were determined to be under the
influence of more than one category of drugs, Andrascik said.
Troopers certified in March as DREs were Tpr. Christopher T. Cole, Troop B, Uniontown;
Tpr. Bryon K. Dickson II, Troop N, Fern Ridge; Tpr. Derek D. Felsman, Troop N, Swiftwater;
Tpr. Shawn M. Haines, Troop K, Philadelphia; Tpr. Matthew A. LoPresto, Troop M, Trevose;
Tpr. David J. McClintock, Troop A, Greensburg; Tpr. Mathew J. Petrof, Troop C, Kane; Tpr.
Theodore S. Race, Troop C, Kane; Tpr. Todd M. Stephenson, Troop B, Uniontown; Tpr. John G.
Thacik, Troop H, Lykens; and Tpr. Jason M. Trupp, Troop J, Embreeville.
Municipal police officers certified last month as DREs were Officer Katie Justh, Lower
Allen Police Department, Cumberland County; Sgt. Daryl J. LaPointe, Bethlehem Township
Police Department, Northampton County; Officer Bryn L. Lindenmuth Jr., Southwestern
Regional Police Department, York County; Cpl. Jason P. Negron, South Whitehall Police
Department, Lehigh County; and Patrolman Jason A. Nothstein, Walnutport Police Department,
For more information about Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.state.pa.us or call 717-783-5556.