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Concern Grows Over Reliability of Field Drug Tests

It may be a sin to eat too much chocolate. But getting arrested for it? That apparently can happen with some of unreliable field drug tests on the market.

Can a false test lead to this?/istock photo


By Mimi Hall
USA TODAY
For Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia, August began with plans for a family vacation in Minnesota. The vacation ended with the two Canadians being led through Toronto’s airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.
“We were dumbfounded,” Artemis says. Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics, because 2.5 pounds of material found in their carry-on bag tested positive for hashish. “All we knew was that we didn’t have drugs.”
They were telling the truth. They didn’t have drugs. They had chocolate.
The couple were caught up in what civil libertarians, public defenders and some narcotics experts say is a growing problem: the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on charges of illegal drugs.
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