Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy



…were they blue?


The more cynical part of me says this means that the tests are doing precisely what they are meant to do - to provide a veneer of legitimate appearance to cops who want to bust anyone they like. I feel pretty much the same way about police dogs.

A slightly less cynical part of me is kind of overjoyed that a police officer decided to go full Myth-Busters on the shitty tests

The cynical part gets the last laugh though


Maybe the cops were running a methlab in the precinct basement?


And this is why it drives me nuts when people say “you can’t beat science” when a test like this is used as evidence.

No, you can’t beat science. But you can claim a testing kit does one thing when really it does something else. Or you can claim a test is infallible when really there’s a margin of error. Or you can focus tightly on immediate cause and effect, ignoring long-term repercussions even when a link is established.

In each case, it’s human error trying to hide behind science, but I’m always astounded how often it happens, and how much real damage it does.


I came here to say basically what you’ve said.

The false positives are a feature, not a bug. :angry:


Admittedly a “field test” is really only supposed to be accurate to the “probable cause,” level and NOT to the “beyond a reasonable doubt,” level. So letting prosecutors use this in open court is something no COMPETENT defense attourney should allow. Of course these seem to be so much worse. Of course the people usually busted with these aren’t the ones who can afford defense council who have the time to read the descriptions of the product.



No no - they were saying, "you can’t beat silence." That’s cop for shut the hell up, I’m going to beat you.

Great - I react positively to air, soap, and candy. I guess this means I am bad and unscientific, too. (cries)


I’m gonna guess that the company that makes these will only sell them to law enforcement, so the chances of independent testing are quite low.


Privately run prisons are people too, and need a reliable income stream from freshly arrested inmates.


Exactly. Who’ll think of the jailers?

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No, no, no. It is the corporate entities that own the private prisons that are “people” with inalienable rights. Please get it straight.

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ANY field test should should ONLY in having you booked/ID’d & RELEASED with a court date, that you will ONLY need to actually show up for if further testing proved positive for something.

I remember a few years back this Bands bus got stopped and their “Organic/non-petrolium Soap” tested for GHB. the company Did their tests on video and determined ANY BRAND of these soaps will test positive for GHB on those tests and payed their legal defence. Great advertizing for an indie soap.

Anyone remember what i’m talking about ?

And fuck, some of these compounds are soooo fucking close to legal things how can they NOT test positive ?. GHB is practically alcohol, meth is pseudo, immodium, ur fucking anti-diareah pills, are pretty much FENTANYL, 100x stronger than morphine, but doesnt cross the blood brain barrier so doesnt get you high while giving you Opiate-side effects hence ur Constipation ! end rant


Yeah, it’s the “sit in jail for [a weekend/a month/a year]” awaiting your trial, even if you’re ultimately exonerated, that screws up people’s lives almost as much as the eventual conviction or lack thereof.


I’m gonna guess you didn’t read the article?

Sure did.

I n 2009, researchers sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates legalization of the drug, staged a demonstration of some of the most widely used field tests, all of which rely on similar chemical reactions. “This is just air," said one presenter, waving an open test as it turned orange, indicating a positive result. The researchers claimed that out of 42 non-marijuana substances placed in the field tests, 70 percent tested positive.

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These tests weren’t designed to identify drugs. They were designed to find a reason to arrest and imprison people who piss off police officers.