The DRE Protocol is a 12-part examination that drug recognition experts use to determine:

  • -If a suspect is impaired
  • -If impairment is due to drugs or a medical condition
  • -If impairment is due to drugs, which category of drugs


Step 1 – Breath Alcohol Test

-To determine whether alcohol may be contributing to any observed impairment. 



Step 2- Interview of arresting Officer


Step 3- Preliminary Examination

-Systematically assessing the subject’s appearance, behavior, medical questions. Initial estimation of pupil size, tracking, and first pulse. 


Step 4- HGN, VGN, LOC 


Step 5- Divided Attention Tests

-Roberg Balance, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, Finger to Nose 


Step 6- Vitals Signs

-second pulse, blood pressure and body temperature 


Step 7- Darkroom Examination 

-DRE will measure the subject’s pupils and pupillary reaction to light. 


Step 8- Muscle Tone 


Step 9- Examination for injection sites 


Step 10- Interview/ Statements 

-At this time the DRE will ask the subject questions regarding the drug category he believes is causing the impairment. 


Step 11- DRE’s Opinion 


Step 12- Toxicology 

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