More than 1,800 drug driving arrests were made across the county last year.

Essex Police made 169 drug driving arrests last month, taking the total for the year to 1,844 – more than 2017 and 2018 combined.

On Wednesday, December 11 officers launched their first ever anti-drug driving-specific campaign which used humour to raise awareness of the issue.

Inspector Rob Brettell, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “What these numbers show is that if you drug drive in Essex you’re more likely to be caught than ever before.

“There will be a number of those arrested over the course of 2019 who won’t have felt impaired and may have last had drugs 24, 48, 72 hours before being stopped.

“The fact is that drugs stay in your system and just because you don’t feel stoned doesn’t mean you’re not over the drug driving limit.

“And as many of those who’ve been arrested will find out – if you’re convicted of drug driving it means you’ll lose your licence and that could have knock-on effects of losing your job and even your home.”

Inspector Brettell added: “Drink driving continues to be a significant issue across the county and continue our efforts to take drink drivers off the road.

“We need people to make sensible decisions about whether or not to get behind the wheel because the consequences can be catastrophic.”

Caroline Churchouse from the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, said: “This is just the start of our work to educate drug-users about the dangers of drug-driving.

“We knew we needed a different approach and our campaign certainly got noticed and generated conversations amongst our target audience.

“A quarter of fatal collisions in 2019 involved a drug-driver. That’s 14 deaths in Essex which could have been easily prevented.

“Please continue to share our messaging as we enter a new decade and help us drive down road deaths and serious injuries in our county.”