The narcotest will come into full force on January 25 this year, in a bid to reduce road deaths and accidents, according to police traffic chief Spyros Spyrou said.
In a press conference demonstrating how the device will work, Spyrou said police have been fully trained and briefed, ready to start carrying out the narcotests.
The device, which has already been distributed to all cities, will give a positive or negative result if it finds traces of cannabis, opioids, cocaine, amphetamines or methamphetamines.
If positive, officers will collect a saliva sample to send to the state laboratory which will take up to 15 days to reveal what drug the driver had been under the influence of. The case will then go to court where drivers can face a penalty of up to €3,500 in fines and a three-year imprisonment.
They also risk losing their driving licenses for a maximum of three years.
“The police do not aim to punish anyone but protect in every way possible the lives of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other innocent road users.”
Anyone who refuses to give a saliva sample is subject to the same fines as if the narcotest was positive.
The procedure takes about five minutes for the device to give a positive or negative reading. If positive, officers will either ensure someone else who is legally permitted to do so drives the vehicle, or the officers will take the vehicle to the closest police station.
The devices are one time use and the saliva samples will be destroyed when they are no longer necessary, such as if the narcotest result is negative.
Legislation on narcotests was voted into law in March 2016.