One of the main purposes of the ARIDE training course is to provide officers with the knowledge to assist them in establishing probable cause during a DUID investigation. Because the course is packed with information taken from the DRE training curriculum, officers graduating ARIDE often feel they are more qualified than the curriculum allows for them to be when it comes to categorizing possible impairment to a specific drug category.
During the ARIDE course, officers receive a 1-hour lecture on the major systems in the human body and how each system is affected by drugs. Officers also receive a 1.5-hour lecture on how to administer field tests other than the SFSTs and how a person’s performance on each field test is affected by drugs. Additionally, officers receive a 3.5-hour lecture on each of the 7 drug categories and how each drug category specifically affects the human body. For those members that have not attended ARIDE training yet, ARIDE is truly 3-days of training packed into 2-days.
Even equipped with all this new knowledge, NHTSA warns officers not to make more of the training then it really is. There are three different locations throughout the student manual that reminds the officers what their abilities truly are (or are not) after completing ARIDE:
According to the NHTSA ARIDE student manual, “This [matrix] or any of the other information presented in this course relative to a specific drug category is not meant to encourage the officer to connect their observations to a specific drug category.” (2018 revision, session 5, page 28)
According to the NHTSA ARIDE student manual, “The officer who completes this course is NOT certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and does not have the training required to support the selection of a specific drug category which may be the source of the subject’s impairment.” (2018 revision, session 5, page 29)
According to the NHTSA ARIDE student manual, “The information presented as part of this course is not intended nor meant to equip the officer with the knowledge or ability to categorize the impairment observed with a specific drug category.” (2018 revision, session 8, page 29)
So even if a driver admits to ingesting hydrocodone 30 minutes prior to the stop, and even if the driver hands over a prescription bottle of hydrocodone, and even if the driver is displaying indicators of hydrocodone consumption, the ARIDE trained officer is still not qualified to give the opinion the driver is under the influence of a Narcotic Analgesic.
Do not let the ARIDE officer make more of the training than it really is!