There are already nationwide issues when it comes to the use and possession of drugs in the United States. However, there’s a much bigger problem facing the citizens of the united states; and it only costs $2. In 1973, Richard Nixon led California investors to patent a disposable comparison detector kit. The kit costs two dollars, are small and cheap, and offer quick results, but come with tons of inefficiencies. The kit contains a single tube of cobalt thiocyanate, which turns blue if exposed to cocaine. The problem with that, however, is that since the kit was developed in the 70’s it didn’t prepare itself for modern medicines. As a result, the cobalt also turns blue when exposed to methadone, acne medication, household cleaners, and 80 other compounds.

Another issue with the kit is that offers are not educated on how it works and are therefore misinterpreting the colors on the test, and therefore misreading the results. The National Bureau of Standards said that the kits “should not be used as sole evidence for the identification of a narcotic or drug of abuse.” Chemists have stopped relying on these tests. The Department of Justice said that the kits “should not be used for evidential purposes.” The Government is in this kit; they remain inadmissible in a trial for nearly every jurisdiction. But most drug cases are decided outside the courtroom. This means that individuals make deals outside in order to lessen their sentence, without ever going to trial.

Every year, over 100,000 people in the U.S. plead guilty to drug possession charges that rely on these filed kits as evidence. However, 33 percent of cocaine arrests are due to false positives from these field tests. In Florida, 21 percent of evidence police identified as methamphetamine was not actually meth. The environment also plays a factor in the test’s inaccuracies. If the weather is cold, it slows down the process; if its hot outside, it speeds up the process. If an officer is in poor lighting, it could cloud the offers judgment, leaving them unable to distinguish the differences between colors. However, the New York Times investigated three of the largest test manufacturers and found that none printed warnings on the kits.


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