Pubdate: Sun, 02 Apr 2006
Source: Advertiser-Tribune, The (Tiffin, OH)
Copyright: 2006 The Advertiser-Tribune
Author: Jan Hoffbauer, Correspondent
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


A rainbow of colors: red, blue, green, purple and white. If police 
officers only test white substances, they may miss finding other illegal drugs.

Twenty people from various law enforcement offices attending a recent 
seminar at Sycamore Fire Station to learn how to identify and test 
various drugs.

North Carolina resident Jack Thorndike, Nark sales and training 
representative from SIRCHIE Group, shared information about colors 
being added to various drugs to disguise them.

Thorndike said if an officer stops someone for probable cause, but 
only finds a white or off-white substance, they should have it tested 
to make sure it is not crack cocaine.

Those in attendance had the opportunity to test cocaine and marijuana 
to see the colorful results.

Sycamore police officer Jennifer Boucher said, "It helps you become 
more aware of the proper use of test kits, and how to figure out 
which test kit to use."

Several officers said they have seen a steady increase in drug use. 
Those in attendance were from Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford and Sandusky 
counties. Drug users are as young as early teens, but as old as those 
in their 60s.

Seneca County detective Don Johnson added that drug use is prevalent 
in every social status, from the poor to the health officials, 
including nurses and doctors.

"It could be anybody abusing drugs. This seminar brought to light all 
the other testing kits available to the sheriff's department," Johnson said.

He has been assigned to the METRICH department with the sheriff's 
office since 2001, serving as a detective since 1999.

Sycamore Volunteer Fire Department fire investigator Bob Hosterman 
attended the seminar. He said he has a lot of training in meth labs, 
because they can result in house fires.

Several officers said they were not aware of urine meth being used.

"When you have a search warrant and you find a couple jars of urine 
in the refrigerator or under the sink, you might guess it is being 
used again for meth," said Thorndike.

Thorndike, who travels to all 50 states training officers, used humor 
as often as possible to lighten a serious epidemic.

Detective Tracy Keegan from the Bucyrus Police Department said as 
they gather information from residents in certain areas, they try to 
add extra patrols in those areas.

"We had a big raid last summer, because people in the area 
complained. We are dealing more with 20- and 30-year-olds," said Keegan.

That age may be more involved in the club drugs, such as Ecstasy and GHB.

Thorndike explained that GHB is legal and purchased on the Internet 
and at health nutrition stores. He said it is used by some 
bodybuilders and rave club attendees. It is when it is mixed with 
cocaine it becomes illegal.

"Ecstasy, called the love drug or hug drug, keeps increasing the body 
temperature up to 104 degrees and higher. If you don't drink water, 
you can die," Thorndike added.

Ohio State Highway Patrolman Jeff Conley said the seminar was very informative.

"We travel all over the roads, state highways, county roads and back 
roads. I see people of all ages, from teens to adults, abusing drugs. 
I see marijuana being as common as tobacco," Conley said.

He said the testing information was important to remind him to do a 
field test before arresting someone, and then to follow up with the 
testing at the state lab.

Wyandot County Deputy Sheriff Mike Hoy said deputies send their tests 
to the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Jonathan Miller, assistant prosecutor for Wyandot County, said, 
"Powder cocaine, crack, marijuana and methamphetamine all pose a 
danger to Wyandot County. Understanding the field tests for these 
drugs helps me to work more closely with the area law enforcement and 
makes me a better prosecutor."

Sycamore Sergeant Dave Zeis and chief probation officer for Wyandot 
County common pleas court, Jason Barth, planned the seminar.

"A lot of officers want to take advantage of any classes they can to 
further law enforcement. One of the steps we can take is drug 
identification. It will help in the field, as we come across 
different drugs," said Barth.

Now, when officers come across colorful substances that "snap, 
crackle, pop," they will know it is time to get out their field test 
kits and find out for sure what substance they are dealing with. If 
it turns bright blue, it just might be crack.
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