The first “Advanced Drug-Impairment Assessment through Physiology and Toxicology” (ADAPT) course in the country

22 March 2022

TENNESSEE – On March 7 – 8, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) partnered with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Forensic Science Laboratory, and AAA to offer the very first “Advanced Drug-Impairment Assessment through Physiology and Toxicology” (ADAPT) course in the country. The ADAPT course is designed to further the knowledge of law enforcement Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) regarding the effects of legal and illegal substances on the human body and driver impairment after consumption. DREs who complete the course become better equipped to serve as expert court witnesses by offering stronger testimonies during the prosecution of impaired drivers. Currently, the THSO has certified 270 law enforcement officers as DREs in Tennessee, while training approximately 40 new DREs each year.


“The THSO is proud to offer this training to help reduce impaired driving across Tennessee roadways,” said THSO Director Buddy Lewis. “We appreciate the TBI, MTSU, and AAA for their partnership in educating officers to save lives and protect our communities.”


The class of 94 students consisted of representatives from 16 municipal law enforcement agencies, six county agencies, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP). Presenters included the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, Tennessee Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors, the TBI, and the THSO. Click here for photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/caXjixDxpj5n3p7D7


Course training modules featured Joe Abrusci, Eastern Region DRE Coordinator for the International Association of Chiefs of Police; MTSU Assistant Professor Dr. Kiel Ormerod; and several TBI toxicologists including Melinda Quinn and JaQueya Ogilvie.


Modules included the following topics: Anatomy and Physiology of the Brain, CNS Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Pharmacology and Effects of THC in Marijuana, Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs, Esoteric Drugs and Emerging Drug Trends, Oral Fluid Testing, and Working with DREs in Court.


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The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) is a division of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security advocating for traffic safety. The THSO works in tandem with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to implement statewide programs addressing occupant protection, impaired driving, speed enforcement, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and crash data collection and analysis. Programs administered by the THSO are 100 percent federally funded. The THSO’s mission is to effectively develop, implement, and evaluate these programs. To learn more, please visit www.tntrafficsafety.org.