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Synthetic Marijuana Often Undetected by Drug Tests for People on Parole or Probation


Most drug tests given to people on parole or probation are unlikely to detect synthetic marijuana, a new study finds.

The Washington Post reports the study found that among a sample of young men from the Washington, D.C. parole and probation system, 39 percent tested positive for synthetic marijuana, even though they had passed a traditional drug screen.

The study was conducted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research. The researchers said the findings underscored the need for updated testing.

The report stated, “For the first time we, found a drug that was as likely to be found in persons who had failed the limited criminal justice system screen as in persons who had passed.”

“Most drug tests are testing for the old epidemics, and they need to update their panels,” said lead researcher Eric Wish. “This is not only for the criminal justice system but the public health system as well.” People who undergo routine drug screening in the workplace, such as hospital workers and military personnel, could also be using synthetic marijuana without getting caught, the article notes.

“You have people coming into these places exhibiting strange behaviors and they enter the public health system looking for help, but the doctor may not know what is wrong with the person,” Wish said. “The public health system needs to start looking at these new metabolites to screen for them.”

Rafael Lemaitre, Associate Director for Public Affairs at the ONDCP, said the agency hopes the findings will encourage officials at the state and local level to stay on top of synthetic drug trends.

5 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of johnnyrocket
    johnnyrocket / May 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Just took a u.a./ case closed.. it don’t show up

  2. Trinka Porrata / September 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Happens all the time with GHB too. No one tests for it. There finally is a screening test for GHB but hospitals/treatment centers seem clues about it. People even in court mandated treatment have taken in water bottles full of GHB and no one catches it.

  3. Sue Bee / September 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I have been told that the synthetic marijuana will have a extremely line line under marijuana and the companies tell collectors that if they can see any line at all then its negative. However, when a test like this was sent for a K2 lab test it came back positive for synthetic marijuana. So, yep, they are getting by with it.

  4. Helen Harberts / September 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Good Luck with that. The tests are expensive, and behind the illicit chemists. Need to ramp up proactive community supervision to address this in addition to more money for comprehensive testing services.

  5. Helen Harberts / September 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Good luck with that. Really expensive and the testing is way behind the chemists. Better get some proactive community supervision out there!

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