12 Steps for Better Drug Testing Results

March 4, 2010 at 13:50
Posted in Forensics

NIK Narcotics Identification SystemChemical presumptive narcotics identification systems, such as the NIK® Polytesting System and the ODV NarcoPouch® lines are some of the most widely-used field drug testing systems used in law enforcement today. Law enforcement officers are expected to combine their investigative skills and experience, knowledge of the characteristics of suspected narcotics and familiarity with the expected color reactions from field tests to correctly identify suspected narcotics.

To gain the maximum benefit from using these test kits, officers should incorporate the following twelve points into their testing protocols to generate accurate and consistent results and successfully establish probable cause to support arrests.

1) Use more tests
Presumptive drug testing systems are designed to identify compounds based on probabilities and the use of multiple tests in succession. The more tests used in the identification of a substance, the greater the probability of positive indication.

2) Don’t overload the test
Always use the correct amount of drug sample when testing. Never overload the pouch. If necessary, adjust the amount of sample according to the strength of the color reaction observed.

3) Break the ampoules in the right spot
Always break the ampoules in the middle of the special ampoule holder by pinching the holder between the thumb and index finger. Never use another instrument to break the ampoules. Most presumptive drug tests include glass ampoules. Break the ampoule in the wrong place and the glass can puncture the test kit (and your finger).

4) Not shaken or stirred
Completely agitate the pouch with the index finger while holding the pouch by the plastic clip in the opposite hand. Never shake the pouch up and down.

5) Use a white background
Always use a white background behind the test pouch to accurately identify the color results. If you view the test on a colored background, it will skew your perception of the test results and could result in a false identification.

6) Your results may vary
Color results are based on the quality and quantity of the drug in the sample. Cutting agents may shift the color hue from the color example printed on the pouch. These shifts should be expected and should be considered when interpreting results.

7) Always consider age
When testing for the presence of marijuana, the age of the plant should be considered when interpreting the results. Older plant material will take longer to react than fresher material.

8) Consider form when testing for Cocaine
Depending on the form of the Cocaine, the first ampoule of a Modified Scott Reagent test (Test G of the NIK Polytesting System) will vary in its reaction.

9) Take the high road AND the low road
Some compounds have multiple tests for presumptive identification. By using more than one test, the chances of a presumptive identification are greatly increased.

10) Three is better than two
Three ampoule tests are more discriminating than tests with one or two ampoules. This is particularly true with the Duquenois Levine and Modified Scott tests.

11) Never introduce liquids
When testing for liquids, place a small amount on a clean white tissue or paper. Never introduce liquids directly into the pouch for testing, except when testing for GHB.

12) Neutralize your tests
Always use an acid neutralizer before disposing of NIK tests, and ALWAYS wait for the test pouch to be completely neutralized before placing the safety clip back on the pouch. Do not handle the pouch after adding neutralizer, as it may generate substantial heat.

A Better Mouse Trap

October 27, 2009 at 11:44
Posted in Forensics
As a manufacturer and distributor with more than 3,000 products in our forensics product line, one of the greatest challenges we face is anticipating customer needs and developing new, useful, and competitively priced products to meet those requirements. These new products may provide technological advances, increase efficiency, package useful items in a new or innovative way, or may even present the “better mousetrap”, a simple or novel solution to a unique problem or challenge. Read More »

Bullet Catcher: Machine Guns and Memory Lane

October 5, 2009 at 13:06
Posted in Forensics
As a former Army officer assigned to an M1 tank battalion, I spent a lot of time around M2 (“Ma Deuce”) .50 Cal Heavy Barrel Machine Guns and became intimately familiar with their operation and capabilities. I shot them out to 2000 meters against both “soft” targets like trucks and “hard” targets like old armored vehicles. There’s nothing quite as exciting as seeing the splash of a .50 cal tracer round hitting an old half track in the middle of the night. Recently, one of our salesmen had the... Read More »

Heroin and TATP: A Recipe for Disaster?

September 16, 2009 at 08:05
Posted in Forensics
There has been some concern within the Law Enforcement Community recently about drug traffickers cutting raw heroin with a variety of peroxide-based substances. While this sounds fairly innocuous, a basic understanding of the chemistry used in most LE drug test kits will tell you that mixing the acid-based chemical test reagents with peroxide-based compounds results in the release of sulfuric acid which is highly corrosive and can cause burns. Read More »

Spring Cleaning

May 22, 2009 at 10:10
Posted in Forensics
We all know this is the time of the year we typically clean up and organize our homes, garages, yards and gardens to prepare for the busy summer months. It should also be the time for departments and agencies to look at their forensics supplies, equipment and facilities to ensure they are cleaned up and organized for the upcoming year. Read More »

What is "Speaking Evidence" and what story does it tell?

February 8, 2009 at 09:07
Posted in Forensics
Track evidence in the form of footwear and tire marks at crime scenes is the most overlooked and under utilized form of physical evidence in all types of investigations, even though it has been recognized as the oldest form of a forensic application in the investigation of a crime. One of the really distinctive aspects of track evidence is that it is ‘Speaking Evidence” and can provide valuable investigative support to an investigation. Read More »

2 Ideas We Couldn't Bring To The Forensics Market, And 1 We Now Can

January 14, 2009 at 18:45
Posted in Forensics
We constantly get product ideas and requests from our customers. Most times, the ideas are great. Unfortunately, many of ideas never make it to the market because they aren't feasible from a business standpoint. For example, a while back one of our customers suggested using copper tape as a disposable grounding plate for an electrostatic dustmark lifter. Everybody loved it...until they saw the price. We face this problem daily. The Forensics industry is a relatively small, niche market, so... Read More »