POLICE Magazine

MAY 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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10 P O L I C E M AY 2 019 L aw enforcement officers must be ready for anything whether out on patrol or working special assignments. When they suspect the presence of nar- cotics, officers can use presumptive drug tests to determine whether illicit drugs are present practically anywhere they need to. ese tests, which can be used for bulk or trace amounts, don't typically indicate a specific level of drug, but they provide a positive or negative result for a drug or drug class. Later, a definitive drug test can identify specific drugs or metabolites and be used to confirm the initial test. BENEFITS ose in law enforcement who can benefit from using these tests include patrol officers, troopers, border protection, and members of drug and gang units. Presumptive drug tests are useful for drug field testing on traffic stops, evidence testing, interdiction, contraband or mail inspection, trash pulls, and even personal protection screening to determine exposure to different substances. Trace amounts of drugs could be found on drug packaging as well as clothing, paper, and various drug paraphernalia. ey could also be found pretty much anywhere in a clandestine lab. Of course, K-9s trained to sniff for drugs can also be used. But let's take a look at how individual officers can test for drugs on their own. SAFETY FIRST Whatever method of substance identification you're using, safety comes first. Always carry appropriate gloves and respiratory protection—that you're sure fit you properly—where you can easily access them. Be trained in how to use them and remove them, and be sure to use them whenever you suspect a hazardous substance. Also be careful to limit exposure as much as possible, even when wearing protective gear. "Fentanyl has really changed a lot of the landscape in drug field testing," says Greg Giuntini, director of market development for DetectaChem. "A lot of agencies don't test as much as they used to for fear of contaminating their officers." But properly using protection and following proper technique for test- ing can minimize officer exposure to potentially dangerous substances. METHODS Methods used to detect narcotics dif- fer. For officers out in the field, there are various portable testing solutions to choose from. Many portable drug detection tests rely on reagents, or "reactive agents," to determine the presence or absence of a substance in a sample. During a test, reagent is combined with a very small amount of the substance. e structure PHOTO: DETECTACHEM PHOTO: DETECTACHEM PHOTO: GET T Y IMAGES HOW TO TEST FOR DRUGS PRESUMPTIVE TESTS ALLOW OFFICERS TO QUICKLY DETECT AND IDENTIFY ILLICIT DRUGS IN THE FIELD. H MELANIE BASICH HOW TO... Newer presumptive drug tests often provide a digital component to make identification easier and to document the chain of evidence. It's important to always use appropriate protection, including gloves, when testing any unknown substance.

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