The Flawed Nature of Unreliable Roadside Drug Tests Used by Police
It can cost the police just $2 to haul someone to jail on a drug crime. These $2 drug test kits have been used for over half a century and tens of thousands of people are incarcerated because of them every year, according to ProPublica. In fact, 1.2 million people are arrested on an annual basis for drug possession, many of whom were brought in because of field test kits. But how accurate are these cheap drug test kits? The answer is not very. And, law enforcement agencies have known of their inaccuracies for a long time. In fact, in 1974 the National Bureau of Standards issued a statement warning that the kits “should not be used as sole evidence for the identification of a narcotic or drug of abuse.” However, this happens more often than not, as most drug cases do not go to trial; in the vast majority of cases the defendant pleads guilty and accepts a plea deal. Innocent people are being convicted of drug crimes because of inaccurate drug test kits every day. The war on drugs has resulted in millions of innocent casualties in the name of being tough on crime, which is, of course, a political cornerstone to winning elections, as documented throughout the generations.
Drug Field Test Kits Turn Positive for Cocaine When up to 80 Other Chemicals are Tested
The appeal of these kits is obvious: an officer can pull over a suspected drug user or possessor, insert a suspected controlled substance into a small tube (or various tubes), and wait just a moment for a color to appear. Unfortunately, these kits are incredibly inaccurate due to a variety of reasons. Operator error occurs when the tubes are broken in the wrong order. Environmental factors such as cold and heat can alter results. Lighting can make the colors difficult to discern. And lastly, the accuracy of the tests themselves is largely flawed. For example, a test used for cocaine reacts equally to cocaine as with 80 different chemicals, many of which are simply household cleaners.
Call an Illinois Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The rate of convictions to that of drug use has skyrocketed since the war on drugs and the use of field test kits came about. The inherent inaccuracies of these field test kits, inaccuracies that the authorities have known about for decades since their implementation, means that thousands of innocent people are convicted every year for drug crimes they did not commit.
If you are being charged with a drug crime of any kind, do not hesitate to contact us today at the law office of Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. Reach out to one of our Naperville drug crimes attorneys for professional assistance with your case.