Newly certified drug expert ready to face epidemic in the U.P.

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Police Department is continuing to combat the growing drug epidemic in the Upper Peninsula.

Zachry Gauthier of the department has recently become certified as a Drug Recognition Expert under the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program. Gauthier is just one of few experts in the area and in order to receive the certification, attended a month long program that consisted of several different phasing levels. Some of the items that were taught in this program include; how to fully understand signs and symptoms of specific drug categories and clinical signs of impairment.

After completing this process, Gauthier feels more than prepared to accept the title of a DRE.

“I’m very confident in what I can do and being able to dictate what drugs they’re on, that’s why they’ve certified us to the level of an expert. They expect us to be an expert at all things related to drug categories,” said Marquette Police Patrolman, Zachry Gauthier.

A portion of the program included going to Arizona for a hands on learning approach. Having this certification in the U.P. is needed due to the increase of drugged driving. Part of Gauthier’s responsibility is to recognize these drivers and maintain safe roads for everyone.

Educating the area on these dangers of driving after taking illicit drugs or even prescription medications is also a key focus in Gauthier’s position.