miércoles, 22 de julio de 2015

Forensic Drug Testing

By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist

   Have you ever watched those police shows where they have to investigate a crime using special equipment and techniques that make them look like scientists working in a government lab? Someone will come in holding a file or container that has the word “forensic” stamped across the top. Somehow you just knew it was important. It was the evidence that would either make or break the big case. With that being said, what do you think when you hear or see the phrase, “For Forensic Use Only”? Do you think of something Official, Top Secret, or Authority? How about high tech or big costing equipment? Just the phrase makes it sound like its important, but what do those words actually mean or stand for? Well, I’m hoping to explain all that and maybe expand on a few things in this article.

Technically, the definition for forensic drug screening is “a format that requires specific specimen handling protocols from the time of collection to the point of analysis and final reporting.” Obviously, it’s the initial screening of samples for the abuse of drugs. It can be conducted just about anywhere, depending on the situation and testing device. For legal purposes, the screening procedure eliminates all negatives, and positive results are regarded presumptive. Many testing devices will use SAMHSA standards. Anytime a drug test is performed outside of a laboratory and you need a complete breakdown, it is highly recommended to get a confirmation using chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Those of you who work in the medical field may have known about what is called a “Clinical” drug testing. You may be asking yourself “how are these two categories different?” It’s all about how the results are used. A better description would be that:

  • A “Clinical” test is used for medical purposes, such as in helping to diagnose and determine how to treat a patient. These tests are needed to test for some of the most commonly prescribed pain medications.
  • A “Forensic” test is used for detecting licit and illicit substances in those who should not be using them. These tests may have cutoff levels that may not be low enough for clinical testing needs.

For obvious reasons, Forensic testing is held to a higher standard because the consequences of a positive result can be a serious offense and deep impacting on someone’s future. Depending on your experience, you may already know that these are used in pre-employment and professional monitoring programs.

If you look at the products on our website, you will notice that some of them will have the words “For Forensic Use Only” listed at the top of the item description. You may ask yourself why it is we do that? Well the answer to that is a simple, but complicated one. Simply put, it’s not our decision to have it that way or else we would be selling those products to anyone who wanted to purchase them. None of our products are harmful, unless you actually try to swallow one or stab someone with one of them. Otherwise, our products are just tools to help fight against drug and alcohol abuse.

RDIFor the products we sell that are “For Forensic Use Only”, we have a simple message that reads: “All Products labeled as “Forensic Use Only” are only sold or distributed to Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Agencies, for example Prisons, Sheriffs’ Departments and Drug Courts. We do not sell or distribute to facilities such as Hospitals, Pain Clinics, or Employment Agencies. We do not sell this product for use at Home or to Private Individuals. We will not ship this test to a residence. Orders will be verified before shipping.”

The term “For Forensic Use Only” simply means that the drug testing device or supplies is not what is called “FDA 510(k) Cleared”. Obtaining such a clearance certifies that the employee drug testing device passes FDA standards. I realize that might sound like a bunch of gibberish and confusing to you, but the best way I can explain is that under Section 510(k) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, it is required for manufacturers to notify the Food and Drug Administraton (FDA) at least 90 days in advance of their intent to market a medical device. This allows FDA to determine whether the device is up to their standards for the general public. So basically, an FDA 510k Clearance certifies that the employee drug testing device passes current FDA standards.

Why is this so important for a manufacturer’s drug testing product to become 510(k) cleared? Well obviously to get their products out to more people outside of the limited group allowed without the clearance. Fortunately / unfortunately, whichever side of the line you are on about the issue, this could be quite expensive and a manufacturer has to be very patient. On average, it may cost to the upwards of $30,000.00 just to have a product prepared and reviewed before they can be submitted to the FDA. If the product is from outside the country, it should be approved by that countries regulating guidelines and that will carry additional costs. If not, expect it to be even pricier because the manufacture will have to conduct various product tests for usage, performance, safety, bio-compatibility, electrical, and technical research.

How long does it take for the FDA to clear 510(k) submissions? Around 6 months, on average. For all the manufacturers and developers out there who are reading this and starting to feel a little discouraged, then maybe you should consider this as a glimmer of hope: Should your product be similar to what is already cleared, it would make sense that the FDA will have next to no choice but to approve any new product that is almost the same as the product already approved on the market. This includes possibly skipping out on all the testing, documentation, and registration processes that go with it. I’m not saying it would 100%, but the less you have to do, the less time and money it would cost out of your pocket.

So as you can understand, without having the clearance, the tests can only be sold to those companies or agencies associated with the Criminal Justice System. These agencies include, but are not limited to, all law enforcement, correction, probation, courts, jails, government agencies such as the Coast Guard, DOD, Navy, Air force, Army (Hoa!), and Marines. This means that products categorized as “Forensic Use Only” cannot be distributed for “over the counter” (OTC) use within the country or its territories. If you go to our website, you’ll notice some of the products that Rapid Detect sells are intended for Forensic Use Only and have a drop-down menu for the buyer to explain who will be using them:

  • Corrections / Prisons
  • Drug Court
  • Forensic Labs
  • Police or Sheriff Departments
  • Security Firms and Companies

Just so you know that the purchase transaction won’t take place until you have selected one of the five available options. Once the selection is made, then your online purchase will be allowed and you can see the next page load up to pay for your order. Once it has been completed, a member of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants team will call you to verify that the order was indeed placed by your company and we will want to speak to the person at the business who paid for these orders to prove that your business is in the industry. We must do this to ensure that we are following the FDA guidelines by not selling products that aren’t cleared for the general public. This action protects not only us, but you as a client as well, from any possible repercussions from having a test that isn’t covered by the Food and Drug Administration.

Which products that we carry fall under this category? Mostly our saliva/oral drug tests and our K2/Spice drug tests. Any device on our site that is for forensic use only will be labeled as such on the product’s page. For a quick rundown of what products are listed as “Forensic Use Only”, they are:

 

It’s obvious that trends in drug usage and abuse evolve as time goes by and can dictate when a change is needed in drug testing devices. The technology for drug testing evolves quickly with new testing devices become available as the older tests are updated as required by demand. Rapid Detect, INC offers several “Forensic Only” drug testing kits. Call to speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants at (888) 404-0020 weekdays between 8am and 4pm or send an email to sales@rapiddetect.com

Know more about Rapid Detect: The Rapid Detect Blog - Forensic Drug Testing



miércoles, 1 de julio de 2015

Alcohol Issues On Independence Day

By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist

   Celebrating America’s birthday is one of the best holidays of the year. Usually one of the hottest days of the year too, but many of us like to go to the lake to cool off, cook some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, hang out together while listening to music, and just have fun. Depending on the ability, part of that fun may include doing other activities like skiing, playing sports, or just sitting around in the shade while setting off fireworks. No matter what your age, having fun is definitely a requirement.

When the time comes, most of us the “roll with the flow”, so to speak. It’s a time to kick back and relax as much as possible, be calm, cool, & collective. With being cool in the heat, it helps to stay hydrated, but with what? Well, that’s at your own discretion. However, law states that if you are under 21 years of age, you can’t have anything alcoholic. So that should help narrow the selection down a little. Unfortunately that may only prevent some, but not all underage drinking.

A new study finds about a third of adults who like to consume alcohol are drinking at dangerous levels across the U.S. The study of adults, ages 21 and up, finds nationwide levels of heavy and binge drinking on the rise. With that being said, women still drink much less than men do. However, that doesn’t lessen the blow when stating there’s still a high risk factor for many health problems since it is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States alone.

If you are going to be drinking alcohol, it’s important to not over-do it. The less you drink, the less you endanger yourself and those around you. Alcohol abuse over the long term can have some serious ramifications. Through various sources, it’s estimated that somewhere around 18 million adults in the U.S. abuse alcohol. That’s like 1 out of 12 adults abuse alcohol excessively. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive use includes:

  • Binge drinking
  • Heavy drinking
  • Any drinking by pregnant women
  • Those younger than age 21

   “Binge Drinking” is a dangerous threat to anybody. For women, consuming four or more alcoholic beverages per occasion are considered to be “Bingeing”. For guys, it’s having five or more drinks per occasion to be considered as doing that.

   “Heavy Drinking” is defined a little differently. Women have to consume eight or more alcoholic beverages per week to be considered as heavy drinkers. Men will have to drink at least fifteen alcoholic beverages per week to be drinking heavy. In 2014, the percentage of men who had at least one heavy drinking day in the past year was 31.4% while women were 18.9%.

It should go without saying that any drinking of alcohol by pregnant women can cause a serious health hazard not only for themselves, but for their unborn child. Remember, just about anything the woman consumes (food, liquids, drugs, and smoking) goes straight to the child, as they are one. Keep in mind that no amount of alcohol can be proven safe by today’s research. If you tried predicting the impact of drinking, it would be a difficult task because each woman’s body has different levels of enzymes that break down the alcohol consumed.

For those younger than age 21, alcohol is not legal, but that doesn’t stop some. Hence the phrase “underage drinking”. However, when you think about underage drinking, what comes to mind? Do you automatically think of children under the age of 18 or do you think about college students? Either way, many are doing it and its leading into a serious problem as each year there are around 5000 young people under the age of 21 that die as a result of underage drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

What’s really sad is research has proven that underage drinking contributes to a variety of situations, including injuries, sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, physical fighting, and even deaths. Emergency room visits seem to double during the Independence Day weekend in comparison to all other weekends in July, especially when it comes to underage males. Some interesting statistics that could help you better understand what we’re up against on this particular issue include:

  • Drinking:  It’s been reported that a whopping 35.1% of 15 year old’s in the U.S. have at least tried 1 drink in their lives. To go with that, an estimated 8.7 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 reported drinking alcohol in the previous month.
  • Heavy Drinking: Approximately 1.4 million people between the ages of 12 to 20 were heavy drinkers who consume alcohol products in a risky pattern.
  • Binge Drinking: approximately 5.4 million people between the ages of 12 to 20 were binge drinkers. Roughly 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drink on an average of about 4 times a month. Generally, the largest number of drinks consumed during a binge is 8.

One factor that may contribute to this is that more than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent who has alcohol problems. Alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal adolescent brain development and increase the risk of developing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), a medical diagnosis for problem drinking that causes mild to severe distress or harm. Already nearly one-third of all adults in the United States have experienced AUD at some time in their lives, but less than 20 percent (more men than women) have actually pursued treatment of some kind.

Knowing this information is all fine and dandy, but the real question is: How much is a drink? Not how much you can drink, but the actual amount within a “drink”. Well, in accordant with the U.S. standard, you could have a normal 12 fl oz of 5% alc/vol beer and it would count as one (1) drink. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself. Actually knowing the sizes and the number of drinks per container can help you make better decisions about your drinking.

Alcohol not only impairs your ability to function as good as you do when sober, but it also impairs your judgement. That’s why so many people get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. They “feel” fine, but in reality, he or she isn’t in complete control of their mind. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says on average, 51% of all fatal automobile accidents on July 4th are related to alcohol. Independence Day beats out other celebrated holidays such as New Year’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

drunk drivingThe NHTSA has got this down to a science by revealing the most dangerous time period to be on the road starts at 6:00 pm on July 3rd until midnight on July 5th. Back in 2013 during the Independence Day period, almost 42% of all the drivers in nighttime fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired. During the daytime (6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.), it was significantly lower at 13%. On average, a person was killed in an alcohol related crash every 52 minutes. That is a bit extreme and with a little bit of planning ahead of time or if you can avoid that whole time frame and not be on the road, that would help reduce the risk of accidents and becoming another statistic.

Now let’s change this discussion off road to driving on the water. Do you think that changes any of the laws? Although it’s on water, the federal BAC legal limit for operating a vessel under the influence is .08, so you better do your own research on state laws before you go. Just like DUI laws, drunken boating laws vary from place to place catching people off guard. As you may know, boating can be very expensive, so why do you want to add more costs from Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) / Boating Under Intoxication (BUI) fines?

The penalties for BWI’s can be just as steep as drunk driving, adding up to $7,500 dollars, depending on if you have any repeat offenses. Just as driving a car or motorcycle, you can be arrested for driving a boat, watercraft, or jet ski while consuming alcohol. To add more insult to injury, a BWI conviction can show up on your driving record would lead to increased insurance rates. Let’s not forget that there is the possibility your license can be suspended for up to 12 months.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boating while intoxicated occurs in a greater percentage than driving an automobile while intoxicated. To take it one step further, if you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol while boating, you are putting yourself in a world of hurt. When you do that, not only are you endangering your own life, but the lives of others around you. Doing that puts our friends with the blue lights hot on your tail. Besides safety and freedom, here are some good reasons why to avoid water activities while intoxicated:

  • All vessels are controlled by people and water, which influences the boat’s path
  • Alcohol use can hamper a person’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time
  • Personal watercraft (jet ski’s, inner tubes, etc..) are harder to see than a larger boats
  • Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion are “stressors” and have been known to intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications.
  • Alcohol usage can increase fatigue and harm by the effects of cold-water immersion

AlcoMate Premium KitIt goes without saying that drunk driving is a problem on both roads and water ways. If you are going out to “par-taay” over the national holiday, you can keep check of yourself with a personal testing kit, such as an Alcomate device. Otherwise, we strongly suggest you should consider these safety precautions before taking to the roads:

  • Have a designated driver or call a taxi if you need a ride home after consuming alcohol
  • Report the drunk drivers you see to the police or other emergency personnel
  • Do what you can to prevent your friends from drinking and driving
  • Always wear a seatbelt, even if you are a passenger in a car
  • Last but not least, plan a safe route back home before the activities begin.

However, as most people are aware of the deadly consequences of driving any vehicle while intoxicated, they may know less about the danger of using fireworks while intoxicated. Do I need to say that fireworks and alcohol are not a safe combination? Maybe as a suggestion, kind of like having a designated driver, you should have a designated person who hasn’t been drinking to set off the fireworks. That way, it will reduce the risk of any possible injuries.

Don’t get too carried away this Independence Day. It’s also important to remember that alcohol consumption will be enhanced by the heat. Please be responsible and if you do any drinking, have a designated sober driver take you home. Yes, go out and have a good time, but don’t ruin it. If you think having a single drink can’t do any harm, think again, especially if you are on the clock. Drinking on the job will not only get you wrote up, but you could get fired, or worse, depending on the line of work you do. We encourage all employers to have a drug and alcohol testing policy in place for situations like this. Using a device like our AlcoCheck Breath Alcohol Test could be very beneficial to your business. Safety is the number one concern for all.

We could also recommend the Alco-Screen Saliva Alcohol Test Strips for all employers who wish to periodically check for alcohol. This test is simple to perform and will reveal alcohol in most substances. Another good one is the QED Alcohol Saliva Test Kit that be used to check for BAC just a few minutes. Both are very good, but it depends on your method of choice. If you have any questions on the products we offer, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants by calling (888) 404-0020 weekdays from 8am to 4pm or email sales@rapiddetect.com anytime.

 

Know more about Rapid Detect: The Rapid Detect Blog - Alcohol Issues On Independence Day



Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist

   Language is an important part of communication. Without it, how would we know what each other is trying to say? We all have use words that have different meanings. If you ask around, you’ll notice we call a lot of things by different labels. How can we keep up with all these names? Well not to make things a little more confusing, there is a new meaning for three old words: “Dabbing”, “Blasting”, and “Oil Rig”. No, none of them have anything to do with big Oil industries, but if they did, we would have some serious problems to worry about.

The activity of consuming Butane Hash Oil (BHO), the substance that can be extracted from a marijuana plant, is known as “Dabbing,” The method allows a user to ingest a strong dose of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by spraying butane through a tube packed with dried cannabis, a process known as “Blasting. Finally it’s placed on a heated surface in a specialized glass bong, called a “Rig”, so that a lighter or blow torch can be used to heat it up to produce a vapor that the user can inhale and almost instantly feel the effects.

Basically, it’s created by breaking down the cannabis trichomes and removing the concentrated THC, also often referred to as “concentrate”. What’s left over is a golden brown honey-like compound that’s used for dabbing. This method is becoming a more favorable way of using marijuana by young people across the U.S. because it’s more powerful. Just one puff can be five times stronger when compared to taking one hit off a marijuana cigarette. It has a potency that can exceed 80% THC content. Some names for BHO products include:

 

  • 710 (spells “Oil” upside down)
  • Amber Glass
  • Budder
  • Butane Honey Oil
  • Concentrate
  • Dabs
  • Ear Wax
  • Hash Oil
  • Honey Oil
  • Moon Rocks
  • Oil
  • Shatter
  • Wax
  • Weed Oil

 

 

Although smoking (or “vaping” as some might call it) isn’t the only way a user can consume BHO. This drug has been known to be served a hard candy and distributed at some parties. Manufacturers will cover it with sugar, sweeteners, and other flavorings to make it more desirable. On average, you can see anywhere from 10 to 50mg of THC per piece of candy. Needless to say, you can understand why it’s quickly grown as a favorite among the party crowd.

Those who have the ability to produce a large amount of BHO could very well have it within less than 24 hours, where normally taking weeks to properly prepare Marijuana buds. The THC levels within the cannabis plant can range from 15% to 25% depending on the buds. Although that drastically changes if you extract enough oil, you can increase those levels up to 85%. It takes just over an ounce of Marijuana to make up to six grams of Butane Hash Oil.

DabsI know that six grams may not sound like much. So to put into perspective, five pounds of Marijuana can equal to about 140 grams of BHO. So let’s just say that if you were to monetize the product, it would make a world of difference to a drug dealer. Therefore, they might set up a make-shift lab in their house, a shed, or some abandoned building somewhere in the area and set up a distribution shop. The only thing left is for them to find users willing to pay at least $25 per gram. Of course, the average price would depend on the purity and strain of the cannabis plant.

However, like all illegal manufactured drugs, this doesn’t come with a warning. It’s a delicate process that is very dangerous. We’re talking about dwellings blowing up and people get injured because most armature manufacturers don’t realize that it takes just a spark inside a room to ignite the butane vapors in the air, which can cause an explosion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that there are increasing incidents of explosions across the country caused by attempts of manufacturing this drug. Explosions from BHO production have blown walls out, moved houses off foundations, and caused people severe burns.

There are a couple of ways dealers try to create Butane Hash Oil. One way is called “Open” while the other is called “Closed.”

  • The “Open” method involves the user to stuff a steel tube with marijuana and then spraying inside the tube with butane, stripping away the Trichomes (THC) from the plant. Afterwards, the butane boils off at room temperature. Finally what comes trickling out is thick, yellowish orange oil onto a metallic container. This method has a high risk of causing serious injury.
  • The “Closed” method (safer process) uses a butane oil extractor, a machine to produce aromatics, infusions, and tinctures. It’s also used to perform oil extraction from botanical herbs. Buying one of these devices can cost up into the thousands of dollars. That’s why more abusers prefer to do the “open” method.

Professional BHO manufacturers use the closed method system because it prevents butane fumes from escaping into the air. I’m sure you would have no problem finding a professional after doing a simple online search since there is a growing demand for BHO. Obviously, there are people who make it (illegally) without all the machinery and safety you get in a legit setting. But why risk it? I guess it all depends on which side of the fence you’re on. For users, hash oil offers a quick and lasting high. For sellers, it is easy to make and offers large profits.

BHOIn the “Sunshine State” of California, there have been some problems. One official from the Sherriff’s Department in San Diego County said there is evidence to suggest that drug cartels may be moving into the hash-oil business because it’s very profitable at $40 to $80 a gram. Despite the fact it’s illegal to extract the hash oil from marijuana, it may still be legal to sell the oil on a retail basis under the state’s current medicinal-marijuana law (a.k.a. SB 420 – yeah, no kidding). However, the state senate recently approved new legislation that will target BHO and Methamphetamine manufacturing in the state, known as SB 212, that will fill in that loop hole.

It’s also been reported that the number of hash oil explosions in Oregon is on the rise causing emergency personnel to worry about what would happen after marijuana becomes legal later this year. In the past 24 months, it’s been reported that at least 17 people were sent to the Burn Unit with some serious injuries and one person actually lost his life as a result in Portland, Oregon. Even though Oregon voted to approve recreational marijuana, it’s still a felony to make hash oil under Measure 91, also known as the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act.

Even in Colorado where it’s allowed for adults over the age of 21 to consume recreational marijuana, there have been reports of home-based laboratories that have been exploding. This is obviously an extreme way to learn about the risks of trying to make homemade hash oil. Unfortunately, those manufacturers and users would rather risk it all than to kick the addiction. It’s becoming a public safety concern each time something like this happens. Officials have said that these home-based laboratories are not covered under the measure approved by voters back in 2012, known as Amendment 64.

It seems that no matter what side of the line you are on, either for the legalization of Marijuana or against it, somehow, someone will make the effects available in one form or another. Not caring of the risks, the damage that the drug can do (both bodily and property), or that it can put you in jail for a while, some people are going to do all they can to get that high feeling. If anything you can take away from this, it’s that drugs are dangerous, even if you don’t necessarily agree with the laws of the land that ban a certain drug, eventually the laws of nature or physics will catch up to you.

THC is still not acceptable by many businesses and organizations, even in states that legalized it for personal consumption. There are some in the workplace that will cross the line while on the job and get high during one of their breaks before returning back to work. That could cause problems, including injuries, for the rest of the employees. The good news is that this method of marijuana consumption can be tested for using one of our THC kits offered on our website. We offer many Marijuana test kits using your choice in method detection including urine, saliva, and hair follicles.You can call (888) 404-0020 to speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultant’s weekdays from 8am to 4pm or send an email to sales@rapiddetect.com anytime.

 

Know more about Rapid Detect: The Rapid Detect Blog - Butane Hash Oil (BHO)