New OSBI Tool Detects Synthetic Drugs

Wednesday, January 18th 2012, 10:11 pm

By: News 9

It's one of the leading drugs of choice for young people across our state--synthetic marijuana.

Many know this man made drug by its street name of K2 or Spice.

It is often sold as potpourri in smoke shops, but young people buy it and then smoke it to get high.

Before, there was no test in the state to detect if it was in your blood stream.

Now there is.

When troopers and other law enforcement officers pull over an impaired driver they often don't know what the driver is on, whether it's alcohol or drugs.

"So we can ask them to take a breath test and they can come back and they pass the test with no problem, but we know that they are under the influence of something," Betsy Randolph of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

But now, thanks to a new piece of equipment, they can test for the latest drug of choice that is legal, but no less dangerous--synthetic marijuana.

Forensic Toxicologist Robert Weston has wanted a liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer for years, but it was too expensive. Thanks to a recent grant from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, it is now here for law enforcement to use whenever they pull over an impaired driver.

The machine is being housed at the OSBI's crime lab in Edmond.

It can detect seven different types of synthetic marijuana.

All it takes is a simple blood test and within a matter of minutes, the machine reveals if manmade marijuana is in your system.

"This is going to be a huge benefit to all law enforcement agencies," Randolph said.

The OSBI will start using the machine next month.


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