Police can't determine which drugs caused positive tests

UPDATE: POLICE are unable to provide a breakdown of alleged positive drug tests during Mardigrass to determine how many people of the 114 detected were under the influence of cannabis or ice.

The MardiGrass drug testing results sparked outrage from cannabis advocates, as people who had smoked pot several days before being tested can still register a positive reading, despite displaying no impairment.

Oral fluid samples from alleged positive tests have to be analysed before to results can be made public, a police media spokesman said.

"The breakdown of illicit drugs will be determined once the Oral Fluid Samples have undergone forensic examination by the Forensic and Analytical Science Services," the spokesman said.

Police Drug Testing Unit Inspector Steve Blair said while the Drager DrugTest 5000 was capable of detecting seven types of drugs, NSW police only tested for three illicit drugs.

"We test for cannabis, methamphetamine and ecstasy (MDMA)," he said.

"The Drager is capable of other operations but we don't use them."

According to the Drager website, the Drager DrugTest 5000 can test for drugs of abuse, such as amphetamines, designer amphetamines, opiates, cocaine and metabolites, benzodiazepines and cannabinoids.


UPDATE: If you were one of the 114 people who allegedly tested positive to illicit drugs during the MardiGrass festival there is help on offer. 

David Carr took to Facebook yesterday and shared a post to the Dave Hippy Love Facebook page, with a link to the Northern Star story, advising people to contact the Hemp Embassy for assistance.

"Anyone who has tested positive is urged to contact the Hemp Embassy (02) 6689 0326 or inbox me," he posted.

"We will help you with your case in any way we can."


UPDATE: CANNABIS advocates have slammed MardiGrass drug testing results claiming targeting cannabis users will contribute to worse trends in drug use.

Over the 23rd MardiGrass Festival, Insp Steve Blair of the NSW police Drug Testing Unit said 114 drivers allegedly tested positive for illicit drugs from 600 tests, while only three motorists were caught allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hemp Party secretary Andrew Kavasilas said the figure of 20% of drivers testing positive for illicit drugs was a consequence of cannabis prohibition.

Read more: Peace and happiness at Mardigrass, where everyone gets abong

"The continued use of these devices which unfairly target cannabis users will continue to contribute to altering drug use trends for the worse," he said.

"If police continue to pursue this unproven, non-scientific approach to drug detection, governments may as well give up on any progress on medical use of cannabis.

"Serious concerns are now being raised about police involvement with the introduction, roll out and increasing use of these devices."

Mr Kavasilas questioned whether people who were tested displayed impaired driving behaviour.

Read more: Interest in medical marijuana draws big Mardigrass crowd

"Seems police were not looking for erratic driving but any driver," he said.

"This could show that even with minute traces of cannnabinoids in your system, driving remains normal.

"How many tested positive for cannabis or ice or amphetamine?

"Could be more interesting to look at these obscure police figures in light of the negative consequences produced by cannabis prohibition."

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone echoed Mr Kavasilas' comments.

"Did anyone test positive for amphetamines? Did they test for them or just pot," he said?

"No question (that) this, and sniffer dogs, are driving people to other drug use, like ice, where you have way less chance of getting busted!"


INITIAL REPORT: ALMOST one in five drivers drug tested during the annual MardiGrass police testing operation allegedly returned positive readings for illicit drugs.

In contrast, only 0.375% of drivers breath tested for alcohol returned a positive reading.

Random Drug Testing Unit Inspector Steve Blair said the operation ran from Friday until Sunday, targeting roads in the Nimbin area.

"Highway Patrol and Random Drug Testing police from the Tweed Byron and Richmond Local Area Commands as well as officers from Huntingwood, Sydney," he said.

More than 600 drug tests were conducted with 114 positive tests, while only three drivers tested positive for alcohol from 800 tests.


Topics:  alcohol cannabis drink driving drug driving drug testing mardigrass

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