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​Drug Evaluation and Classification Program

The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DEC) focuses on training troopers and police officers to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of​ drugs and to identify the type of drug causing impairment. The DEC Program was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Upon completion of their initial training, officers are certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) and become far more effective in identifying drug impaired individuals.

The Pennsylvania State Police DEC Program was initiated in 2004. The Department is currently providing training to State Police members and allied law enforcement agencies. The Pennsylvania State Police is responsible for ensuring the standards and guidelines of the program are being adhered to and the training is offered statewide.

Due to limitations on class size, program requirements and funding availability, not all applicants are selected to attend. Interested candidates may download the PSP Training DRE Candidate Application  and submit via mail, email, or fax to:

Pennsylvania State Police DRE Coordinator
Corporal Nicholas Zulick
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg PA 17110
FAX: 717-346-9796

Drug Evaluation and Classification Training Information

The Pennsylvania Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program will assist police officers in identifying the drug-impaired individual.  Although the focus of the DRE curricula is on the identification of the drug-impaired driver, DRE skills are applied to many different law enforcement objectives. For example, DREs are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders.  Certified DREs are a valuable resource in combating the adverse impact of drugs on the communities we serve. 

Due to limitations on class size, program requirements and funding availability, not all applicants are selected to attend.  All applicants will receive written correspondence indicating acceptance or denial to the training at least fourteen days prior to the start of training. It is essential that all applicants be committed and determined to successfully complete the training. The DRE School is extremely intensive and demanding.  To receive certification as a DRE, two phases of training must be completed. The following paragraphs summarize each phase:

Academic Training

This phase is typically conducted over two weeks (72 actual classroom hours). It includes courses in physiology, vital signs, standardized field sobriety testing (SFST), as well as extensive instruction on each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse.  The training includes three written examinations, an SFST proficiency examination, and five written quizzes. Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on each of the three examinations, and must demonstrate proficiency in administering the SFST in order to progress to the certification phase. The academic training is conducted utilizing creative, participant-centered teaching techniques.

Certification Phase

Upon successfully completing the academic portion, all students will be scheduled to attend the certification phase for at least 10 consecutive days. It is the student's responsibility to complete the certification requirements within a six month period following the DRE school. The requirements of this phase include: conducting a minimum of 12 drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor; identifying subjects under the influence of three of the seven drug categories; and attaining a 75% toxicological confirmation rate. In addition, the student must maintain a progress log, rolling log and submit a quality resume. Finally, the student must pass a comprehensive final knowledge examination which takes approximately eight to twelve hours, and obtain the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Pennsylvania State Police are the regulating and certifying organizations for the DEC program in Pennsylvania.  DRE certification is valid for two years.  In order to maintain certification, DREs must conduct a minimum of four evaluations within this time period, submit a rolling log, submit a current resume, and attend eight hours of recertification training.

Training Prerequisites

  • Certified NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Practitioner
  • Certified NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor
  • Certified Class A Breath Test Operator

Other Related Links

IACP Web Site
The International Drug and Evaluation Classification Program