DRE Conference Draws Third Largest Attendance in 21-Year History

The IACP Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Section’s Annual Training Conference on Drugs, Alcohol, and Impaired Driving convened August 10-12 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and drew more than 750 attendees from law enforcement, toxicology, prosecution, health, and other fields in impaired driving enforcement initiatives. Co-hosted by the Ohio Traffic Safety Office, the conference attendance was the third largest in the 21-year history of the conference.

IACP President Richard Beary speaks to conference attendees.

IACP President Richard Beary speaks to conference attendees.

The three-day training event was designed primarily to enhance the skills of DREs, who have been certified by the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program, established in 1986 by the IACP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This year’s theme was “Dedicated to Excellence and Committed to Progress(DECP), which called to mind the consistency and standardized aspect of the DRE curriculum as well as the program’s goal to stay current with the most recent research in drug impairment. The training was comprised of general sessions and breakouts that addressed such topics as opioid-Impaired driving, downside effects, the physiology of impairment, suboxone use, poly-drugs and new drugs, negative toxicology results, and addiction and the brain.

This conference’s reputation has grown significantly throughout its 21-year history. Initially DREs attended the training in order to complete a requirement for two-year recertification in the DEC Program; the conference now attracts many specialists from the highway safety community and has been recognized as the leading conference that addresses the most current—and dangerous—challenges facing police officers who enforce impaired driving laws. Participation in the conference has more than doubled in size, and today attendees from the United States are joined by professionals from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Hong Kong. Close to 7,000 DREs credentialed by the IACP are currently active and certified. Since its establishment in 1987, the NHTSA/IACP DEC Program has trained and certified more than 22,000 DREs and has become international in scope.

The IACP DRE Section wishes to extend its appreciation to our Ohio colleagues, particularly the Ohio Traffic Safety Office; Sergeant Wes Stought and the state’s conference planning committee for their successful planning efforts; and to the Cincinnati Police Department, who provided transportation throughout the event. The section also acknowledges NHTSA, U.S. Department of Transportation, for its continued support of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program.

A complete agenda of this year’s conference is available at www.decp.org.

SAVE THE DATE: Next year’s DRE Section’s Training Conference on Drugs, Alcohol and Impaired Driving will be held August 13-15, in Denver, Colorado. Visit www.decp.org for updates and to learn more about the DEC Program and the DRE Section.

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