Miles Toren has been with Nueces County Juvenile Probation for close to 20 years, and he said a small plastic credit card-sized litmus test is the newest weapon in the war on what’s being called the scourge — synthetic marijuana.
“Within the last year, we hear that there’s a rise of use of K-2, Spice and some of those things,” Toren said. “We don’t know anecdotally if that is true or not, but we bought the kits. That if somebody says it appears that this child may be acting erratically, and when we drug test them, it would pick that up as well.”
The test manufactured by a company called Smartox is called a “dip drug test.” All an officer has to do is dip the strips in a probationers urine sample for 15 seconds. Five minutes later, they get the results.
The test checks for nine different illegal drugs, from methamphetamine, PCP and cocaine to marijuana, heroin and, now, synthetic marijuana.
“Anytime they come in that the probation officer feels, or even if they’re at school and the principal or the schools feel that this child is acting erratically, they don’t have to necessarily smell a drug on them or anything,’ Toren said. “Then we can go ahead and go out there and drug test them.”
“It’s just like a field test for drugs,” said Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka. “You put cocaine there, it turns blue, it’s cocaine. That’s a preliminary test. It’s still tested over at the lab, but this would be one good step in the right direction.”
Also using the new K-2 tests are San Patricio and Jim Wells counties. Nueces County Adult Probation is looking into the accuracy of the test and may consider adding it to its arsenal.