New Synthetic Drug Testing

July 19, 2013

Texas MedClinic is now offering employers drug screening panels to detect two popular street drugs that typically go undetected – “bath salts” (which, by the way, are not the ones used for bathing) and K2 or “Spice.”

“Employers look to practices such as Texas MedClinic to screen potential and current employees for a wide array of controlled substances such as cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, codeine, morphine, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and/or hydromoprphones,” Dr. David Gude, chief operating officer at Texas MedClinic, said. “Consequently, this expanded testing has prompted drug abusers to keep mixing new chemicals at home and in illicit labs to get that “high” and to be able to fly under the radar of standard drug tests.”

The swift popularity of K2 and bath salts prompted most states to pass laws banning synthetic drugs.

In September 2011, The Texas Legislature passed a bill making the synthetic drug known as “bath salts” illegal, and around the same time they passed a similar bill banning synthetic marijuana – also known as K2 or “Spice.” In July 2012, President Obama signed a bill into law that established a federal ban on bath salts, synthetic marijuana and the chemical compounds from which these drugs are made.  The federal ban applies to both interstate and online sales.

Texas came close to strengthening these laws in the 2013 legislature when Senator Joan Huffman sponsored Senate Bill 263 to enable the law to keep up with “street chemicals” by providing more comprehensive ban on dozens of chemical variations of synthetics as well as drugs that slip through the cracks.

The bill passed in the Senate but was killed in the House.

“Our laboratory’s Research and Development Department evaluates current products on the market to determine which substances to include in testing. We are now testing for K2 or “Spice” and bath salts,” Dr. Gude said. “The physiological effects of K2 included increased heart rate and increase of blood pressure. It appears to be stored in the body for long periods of time, and therefore the long-term effects on humans are not fully known.”

K2 or “Spice” is a mixture of deadly chemicals that are typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. K2is commonly purchased in head shops, tobacco shops and various retail outlets and over the internet.  It is often marketed as incense or “fake weed” and on the street it may be called Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Fake Week or Genie. It is usually smoked in joints or pipes, but some users make it into a tea.

Synthetic stimulants that are marketed as “bath salts” are often found in a number of retail products. The chemicals are synthetic derivatives of cathinone, a central nervous system stimulant. Street names for bath salts include Bliss, Blue Silk, Cloud Nine, Drone, Meow Meow, Lunar Wave, Pure Ivory and many more. These products are sold in powder form in small plastic or foil packages of 200 and 500 milligrams. Abusers snort it, shoot it or mix it with food and drink.

People who abuse these substances have reported agitation, insomnia, irritability, dizziness, depression, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures and panic attacks. Dr. Gude notes that if employees are under the influence of bath sales while on the job, it can be very dangerous because of impaired perception of reality, reduced motor control and a decreased ability to think clearly.

He adds, “Employers must be vigilant to ensure their employees are not under the influence while on the job and posing a threat to themselves, their colleagues and the company. “

Interested in synthetic drug testing for your company? Contact the marketing department to learn more:

San Antonio / New Braunfels: 210.349.5577

Austin / San Marcos: 512.486.6110

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