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How Does A DNA Paternity Test Work?

DNA TestingMedia outlets broadcast the increase in paternity cases on a daily basis. From top music icons such as Justin Bieber to your everyday Joe, more people are finding a need for DNA paternity testing. With the rise in litigation cases regarding paternity, there has been a growing demand for testing as well. Although paternity testing can be used for various purposes such as assess the medical history of an individual, paternity testing is commonly used to determine the biological father of a child.

How Does A DNA Paternity Test Work?

There are many components associated with paternity testing to obtain guaranteed results. In order for the test to be processed, it requires samples from all parties involved, testing can be done on only the father and child, but it is strongly encouraged to include the mother as a sort of base line. Samples are taken from the inside of the cheek, known as a bucal swab.  The samples are then submitted to a laboratory for analysis to identify and confirm the biological parents of the child. At the completion of the assessment, test results become available typically within five days of submission to the testing lab. 

DNA paternity testing is highly recommended as it provides the most accurate results. Most DNA paternity tests guarantee a 99.9% accuracy rate. In addition to this, labs typically incorporate duplicate testing to ensure accuracy and further assure the reliability of your test. 

Inaccuracy of Results – Different laboratories will guarantee varying accuracy rates. Although most labs certified by the American Association of Blood Banks or the National Association for DNA Collection and Management guarantee results that are 99.9% accurate, it is important to be aware of labs that guarantee less than 99.9% accuracy and the risk this may pose.

Parents, legal entities, and medical practitioners are taking action in establishing paternity. Understanding the dynamics of DNA paternity testing will assist with increasing awareness and addressing concerns, thereby enhancing the value of this testing measure.



Drug Testing Promotes Workplace Safety

You can maintain your program effectiveness by understanding which drugs are being abused and modifying your testing panel based on that information.

An effective drug testing program promotes a safe, productive workplace in addition to a multitude of other benefits, according to a recent industry poll. This article explores the many advantages of employee drug testing and illustrates how a program’s effectiveness is directly impacted by quickly evolving industry trends and federal testing legislation.


How Effective is Drug Testing?
Employment drug testing is a powerful risk tool that provides far-reaching organizational benefits. In addition to promoting a safer, more productive workplace, it can help to decrease employee turnover and absenteeism, reduce employer risk, and lower workers’ compensation incidence rates, according to Drug Testing Efficacy 2011, a recent poll conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). The poll, one of the most comprehensive and current surveys regarding drug testing available today, questioned employers ranging from 500 to 2,500 employees, most of which were publicly owned, for-profit organizations. The following key points were discovered:

  • What percentage of organizations conducted pre-employment drug testing in 2011? More than half of the organizations (57 percent) indicated they conduct drug testing on all job candidates. More than one-quarter (29 percent) of the organizations do not have a pre-employment drug testing program.
  • Is there a connection between drug testing programs and absenteeism? Yes. In organizations with high employee absenteeism rates (more than 15 percent), the implementation of a drug testing program appears to have an impact. Nine percent of organizations reported high absenteeism rates (more than 15 percent) prior to a drug testing program, whereas only 4 percent of organizations reported high absenteeism rates after the implementation of a drug testing program, a decrease of approximately 50 percent.
  • Are workers’ compensation incidence rates affected by drug testing programs? Yes. In organizations with high workers’ compensation incidence rates (more than 6 percent), the implementation of a drug testing program appears to have an impact. Fourteen percent of organizations reported high workers’ compensation incidence rates prior to a drug testing program, whereas only 6 percent of organizations reported similar rates of workers’ compensation after the implementation of a drug testing program, a decrease of approximately 50 percent.
  • Do drug testing programs improve employee productivity rates? Nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of organizations experienced an increase in productivity after the implementation of a drug testing program.
  • How much of an impact do drug testing programs have on employee turnover rates? Sixteen percent of organizations saw a decrease in employee turnover rates after the implementation of drug testing programs.
  • Do multinational organizations apply similar drug testing protocols/policies in the United States and globally? Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of organizations with multinational operations indicated that all, almost all, or some of the same protocols/policies are applied while conducting drug tests outside the United States.


Maintaining Program Efficacy
Just as there are many types of drug testing programs, ranging from those regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to privately developed and managed programs, there are also many testing options available today. However, in order to create the most appropriate and effective testing program, you must first understand what’s happening in the industry.

The drug testing industry was born 30 years ago, after the launch of federal drug testing requirements in the 1980s. A lot has changed in 30 years. The types of drugs being abused are quickly evolving, and so are the abusers.

  • While marijuana is still the number one most-abused drug globally, prescription drugs have moved into second place, overshadowing cocaine. Technology has played a big role in these changes. For example, the street distributor has morphed into the Internet distributor, making it easier than ever to access prescription medication without ever visiting a doctor.
  • The use of pill mills, which are clinics, doctors, or pharmacies that are prescribing large amounts of prescription medication for non-medical use, is also becoming prominent in the United States, prompting abusers to travel across state lines to access these mills.

In lock step with these trends, new federal legislation and program guidelines are also appearing. For example, in addition to standard illicit drugs, prescription medication and designer drugs must now be considered for testing. Just two years ago, in October 2010, DOT expanded its standard test panel to include Ecstasy as part of the amphetamines drug panel and also lowered cutoff levels of testing for amphetamines and cocaine. The result was as expected: DOT-regulated programs are seeing an increase in positives for both categories.

Now, the U.S. government is enhancing its program even further. A breakthrough this year has been the approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of the recommendations made by the Drug Test Advisory Board (DTAB), which include testing for synthetic opiates such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, also known as Vicodin or Oxycontin, by their brand names. Additionally, DTAB recommended using oral fluid testing as an alternative testing method. The process for DOT to implement these recommendations still could take years, but this is a big first step in modifying the federal drug testing program, one that provides guidance on potential drugs you can test for within your own program.

Designer drugs such as synthetic marijuana and synthetic amphetamines are also on the federal government’s radar. Known as K2/Spice and Bath Salts, these drugs are manufactured and marketed in such a way as to avoid legal roadblocks to distribution, which makes testing for them difficult and expensive. President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 into law on July 9, 2012, as part of S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. The legislation bans synthetic compounds commonly found in synthetic marijuana (“K2” or “Spice”), synthetic stimulants (“Bath Salts”), and hallucinogens by placing them under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

This new law will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to take action against the manufacturers, importers, and sellers of these products. While this represents progress in the battle against synthetic drugs, authorities must continue to monitor and update the list of prohibited substances as manufacturers modify the composition of the drugs to circumvent legislation. Some employers have begun testing for these types of drugs in reasonable cause situations.

While DOT and most non-regulated employers test a standard five-panel, these changes in prescription and designer drug abuse are creating a legitimate opportunity for employers to expand that panel to include additional drugs. For example, LexisNexis Occupational Health Services, Inc. a large third party administrator, notes that its manufacturing customers are moving to a nine-panel test with an additional two drugs -— hydrocodone and oxycodone. An effective drug testing program promotes a safe, productive workplace. By monitoring industry trends, you can maintain your program effectiveness by understanding which drugs are being abused and modifying your testing panel based on that information. Likewise, laws and regulations will help dictate what can be tested and how that testing should be conducted. Information from DEA about common drugs of abuse is available here.

It is always recommended that employers retain internal or external legal counsel specializing in drug testing to review drug and alcohol testing laws in the states where their applicants and employees reside, and states where they have physical locations. An organization such as DATIA is also a great resource to help you stay updated on drug testing industry trends and legislation. Visit the website to learn more about DATIA and membership opportunities.




Bus drivers were given brownies laced with pot in San Diego

A bus driver brought brownies to work and offered them to other drivers. Three ate brownies, but they didn’t know they were laced with pot. The three drivers were told to undergo drug counseling after the incident, but two of them refused.

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus driver Ku’uipoaloha Lawler is accused of providing the pot brownies to the other drivers. MTS fired him, and San Diego police have turned over results of their investigation to the District Attorney for consideration.

There was more controversy about what should happen to the three drivers who unknowingly consumed pot in the brownies.

On the day Lawler brought the brownies to work, all three of the drivers who ate them went on their regular routes but pulled over when they realized what was happening. MTS sent replacement drivers to take over.

The three drivers were required to provide urine samples and were placed on paid leave. MTS said they had to submit to substance-abuse counseling before returning to work in a capacity other than driving a bus.

One driver agreed to the conditions, but two objected and refused to go to the counseling.

Mark Hall, one of the two drivers who objected to the MTS conditions, took his case public, to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

It certainly didn’t seem fair that Hall and the two other drivers had to undergo drug counseling when they didn’t know they were eating pot brownies.

Hall says people even asked Lawler whether the brownies had pot in them, and he denied it.

Federal regulations kick in

But there was a problem: Federal Transit Administration safety regulations require bus drivers to undergo substance-abuse counseling when they have a positive drug test.

MTS said it wanted to treat the drivers fairly, but it had to wait for a federal waiver.

About a month after the incident, the feds finally issued the waiver. The three drivers didn’t have to undergo counseling, and they were allowed to return to bus driving.

Although the MTS employees needed a waiver from federal regulations to go back to driving, they wouldn’t have faced criminal DUI charges if they were pulled over. Criminal law has an exception for involuntary intoxication when the affected person didn’t know they were ingesting a mind-altering substance.

Do you think the system worked as it should have in this case, or should it have been easier for the three bus drivers to go back to their jobs?

October 19, 2012 by Fred HosierImage

What is Hair Drug Testing, also known as Hair Follicle Testing?

Since hair growth is fed by the bloodstream, the ingestion of drugs of abuse is revealed by analyzing a small sample of hair. Our testing method measures the drug molecules embedded inside the hair shaft, eliminating external contamination as a source of a positive test result. Hair testing results cannot be significantly altered with shampoos or other external chemicals.

What drugs are included in a standard Hair Drug Test?
Cocaine, marijuana, opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-monoacteyl morphine), methamphetamine, (Meth/amphetamine & Ecstasy), and phencyclidine (PCP).

Cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates and PCP are rapidly excreted and usually undetectable in urine 72 hours after use. The detection period for hair is limited only by the length of the hair sample and is approximately 90 days for a standard test.

 What time period does a hair test cover?
A standard test covers a period of approximately 90 days. The hair sample is cut as close to the scalp as possible and the most recent 1.5 inches are tested

How does Hair Testing compare to urinalysis?
The primary differences are
1) wider window of detection
2) inability to tamper with the test. Since hair tests analyze the drugs inside the hairshaft, external contaminants/chemicals have no effect

How effective is Hair Testing in detecting drug users?
In side-by-side comparison studies with urinalysis, hair drug testing has uncovered significantly more drug use. In two independent studies hair drug testing uncovered 4 to 8 times as many drug users as urinalysis.

Does hair color affect results?
Hair color is determined by the amount of melanin in the hair. It has been shown experimentally, through actual hair samples, as well as determined in court that hair color has NO basis in fact. At this time there are no known adulterants for hair tests

How fast does head hair grow?
Studies indicate that head hair grows on the average approximately 1.3 cm (or 1/2 inch) per month.

How much hair is needed?
A standard test with GC/MS confirmation requires 60+ milligrams of hair or approximately 90 to 120 strands. The thickness of different types of head hair (thick coarse vs. thinning fine) is the reason for this variation.


How soon after use can a drug be detected in hair?
It takes approximately 4-5 days from the time of drug use for the affected hair to grow above the scalp. Body hair growth rates are generally slower and cannot be utilized to determine a timeframe of drug use.

What is the shortest time period that can be evaluated?
The minimum time period is approximately two weeks (1/4 inch). Body hair can be used if head hair is too short for a test. If body hair is used the timeframe represented by the test is approximately one year, due to the different growth pattern in hair below the neck.

Can tests be run on people with little hair?
Hair can be collected from several head locations and combined to obtain the required amount of hair. In addition, body hair may be used as a substitute to head hair.

Does body hair give the same type of results as head hair?
Yes, body hair can be used to test for the five standard drug classes, though body hair growth patterns are different than head hair. Most body hair is replaced within approximately one year. This means a test done with body hair will be reported as drug usage during approximately a one year timeframe.

Can hair collected from a brush be used?
Yes, but the test will be reported as having an “anonymous” donor. We cannot attribute the sample to any specific person and we cannot determine the timeframe of the test, so the test result is not legally defensible. The test will only report that the sample submitted had the reported drug metabolite components.

Can hair be affected by cross-reacting substances such as over-the-counter medications?
Enzyme-immunoassay antibodies (EIA), similar to those used to test urine, are used for the initial screening test for drugs of abuse in hair; therefore the potential for substances such as over-the-counter medications to cause a false positive screening result does exist. To eliminate the possibility of reporting a false-positive due to cross-reactivity, the lab confirms all positive results by GC/MS for methamphetamine, opiates, PCP, cocaine and marijuana.

Does external exposure to certain drugs, like marijuana or crack smoke, affect the Hair Test results?
To rule out the possibility of external contamination, testing (where appropriate) the lab looks for both parent & metabolite (bi-product) of drug usage. For marijuana analyses, lab detects only the metabolite (THC-COOH) . This metabolite is only produced by the body and cannot be an environmental contaminant.

How do I know if a company’s drivers fall into the DOT-FMCSA required drug/alcohol program?

The criteria for the FMCSA drug/alcohol program includes drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) used in interstate or intrastate commerce that:

  • Have a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more inclusive of a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Have a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more;
  • Are designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
  • Are transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring the vehicle to be placarded.


Urine vs Saliva (oral fluid) Drug Testing

Back and forth the arguments go, some for Urine testing as the drug test of choice, some for oral fluid testing as the most ‘effective’ method of testing.

The main contention between proponents of Urine v Oral Fluid testing, is the detection window of drug use that is offered, with Urine being longer than that of oral fluid testing.

Urine is able to detect a broad history of drug use. It is the detection times that mean that this is the case. Urine tests can pick up drug use days, even up to a month, depending on use. For example below; Several common types of drugs and their detection periods in urine testing:

Amphetamines (except methamphetamine)
1 to 5 days
3 to 5 days
MDMA (Ecstasy)
24 hours
2 to 7 days, up to >30 days after heavy use and/or in users with high body fat
2 to 5 days with exceptions for certain kidney disorders
2 to 3 days
2 to 4 days
3 to 4 days
3 days

Oral Fluid (saliva) on the other hand, has a more narrow window of detection, and can pick up impairment (use of a drug within the preceding hours) in the person tested.

It is for these reasons that the main sources of contention arise between proponents of each. The other reasons for friction to one method or another are more subtle.

Lack of Privacy is a commonly cited point of friction, and feeling ‘undignified’ are another argument for Saliva over Urine testing.

Urine testing can be viewed as more ‘intrusive’ by workers, who may feel it is beyond reasonable expectation to have knowledge of past drug use, up to one month for some drugs in some cases. In past it was difficult for female workers to attend urine drug tests, as no separate facilities were available, and the majority of testers were male.

Saliva is a less well known, and less trusted means of testing by some, who argue that “it is not as accurate as urine” and that “uncovering a drug culture of use in the workplace is more important than knowing if workers are high”.

Unions argue that ‘impairment’ is what a drug and alcohol testing policy is meant to uncover, and that oral fluid testing is suitable for testing ‘impairment’, that is present use of the drug that would mean the person is ‘impaired’.

Well here is some reasons I’m an advocate for Oral Fluid testing

• Fast, easy and safe specimen collection
• Non invasive
• Lower chance of adulteration compared with urine screening.
• No need for washrooms or special facilities
• Observed collection eliminates instances of sample tampering.
• Drug concentrations similar to those of blood
• More sanitary compared to urine specimen handling.
• Useful in the detection of recent drug use (up to 24 hours).
• Collection of oral fluid specimen can be viewed by a second person without infringing privacy.

Major trucking leaders continue to advocate for the option of drug testing using hair instead of urine in federally mandated company driver pre-employment screening and random testing.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sets mandatory guidelines for Department of Transportation’s commercial driver drug testing. In 2004, it considered using hair testing and later concluded the proposal needed further research.

Hair testing is much more difficult to tamper with to avoid a positive result than urine analysis, wrote Schneider National’s Don Osterberg in a July 30 Transport Topics opinion piece. The senior vice president of the Wisconsin carrier stated hair testing detects drug use over several months versus urine tests, which indicate drug use from the last 24 to 48 hours.

In 2008, Schneider began including hair testing in its pre-hiring process for drivers before adding it to the company’s random-testing program in 2011. As of last June, 120 prospective drivers failed the urine test, but 1,400 prospective drivers had drug-positive hair tests.

J.B. Hunt, Gordon Trucking, C.R. England and Roehl Transport are among carriers that conduct hair tests, in addition to urine tests.

Last year, England added hair testing after the Utah carrier’s trial run indicated hair tested positive at a rate of three times higher than urine alone.

American Trucking Association members that implemented hair testing detected drug use in nearly 2.4 to 10.4 percent more drivers than urine analysis alone, says Abigail Potter, an ATA researcher, who spoke to the SAMHSA Drug Testing Advisory Board last January.

Two years earlier, Potter had submitted comments to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation’s on Procedures for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing. The association urged OST and Health and Human Services to “aggressively evaluate” using hair and other alternative specimens. The OST should partner with ATA for a pilot program evaluating hair testing by carriers, it added.

In 2006, J.B. Hunt began using hair testing and the following year, Hunt’s senior vice president, Greer Woodruff, testified before Congress on its effectiveness. The ATA wanted SAMHSA and DOT to issue rulemaking to allow hair as an alternative testing method.

By 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated the Arkansas-based carrier’s rate of positive urine tests had dropped 75 percent through using hair samples, according to the Transportation Research Board.

Gordon Trucking began testing urine and hair following a testing period using both methods from July to September 2011. Of the 170 drivers screened, hair testing detected 10 positive candidates that would have otherwise been hired, the Washington truckload carrier reported.

A personal statement from an Opiate user turned Heroin addict

Opiates? I have been prescribed opiates for 15years and I never had problems with them or got “High” from them – I strickly took them for severe back pain and RA.

But 3 years ago, at the age of 37 I decided to try Heroin…. My life has never been the same!

Heroin unlocks a door that can never be closed! I am not your typical drug addict – I have 3 college degrees including a masters degree and I great job! I never tried drugs before…. EVERYDAY I regret my decision to ‘try’ Heroin…. I dont know what the right or wrong answer is or what causes some people to be Opiate Addicts… But it can happen to anyone! Trust Me!

I dont want to do drugs everyday – I HATE IT! But there is something that Herion changed in my brain and it just calls my name. I take them just to take them – I dont even get high anymore. I was able to quit once for a few months… but it came calling again.

Please look up the stats – There is a 95% Failure rate to stay clean AND Millions of people in this country are stuck fighting this! Rehabs/AA dont really help with powerful opiates. I pray that the govt does some more research and come up with something to help us win the battle over Opiates! But the drug companies make so much money off of the scripts! Maybe they can start by reforumulating the legal meds cuz more than 50% of Opiate Addicts are on Legal Scripts (Ex: Vicdin, Oxycontin)… We need to do more research on dopamine and how the brain handles opiates…… Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired!

Found posted on a website,this is a true personal statement.

Got Drugs?? National Take Back Day DEA September 29, 2012 at Police Depts, Hospitals etc.

National Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, to be held on Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to dispose of those medications easily and safely.  Citizens who participated in the DEA’s most recent take-back event this past April turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

For more information, including a Collection Site Locator and a Partnership Toolbox, visit DEA’s website:


The New Killer Drug Every Parent Should Know About, 2C-I or ‘Smiles’

Witnesses described the 17-year-old boy as “shaking, growling, foaming at the mouth.”According to police reports, Elijah Stai was at a McDonald’s with his friend when he began to feel ill. Soon after, he “started to smash his head against the ground” and began acting “possessed,” according to a witness. Two hours later, he had stopped breathing.

The Grand Forks, North Dakota teenager’s fatal overdose has been blamed on a drug called 2C-I. The night before Stai’s overdose, another area teen, Christian Bjerk, 18, was found face down on a sidewalk. His death was also linked to the drug.

2C-I–known by its eerie street name “Smiles”–has become a serious problem in the Grand Forks area, according to local police. Overdoses of the drug have also be reported in Indiana and Minnesota. But if the internet is any indication, Smiles is on the rise all over the country.

DEA cracks down on new versions of hard drugs

“At the moment I am completely and fully submerged, if you can’t tell by my eyes, in a psychedelic world known as 2C-I,” says a man who appears to be in his late teens or early 20s on a YouTube video posted back in October. His pupils are dilated. He struggles to formulate a description of what he’s feeling-it’s hard to tell if its because his experience is profound or if his speech skills are simply blunted. He’s one of dozens of users providing Youtube “reports” of their experiences on the synthetic drug.

Smile’s effects have been called a combination of MDMA and LSD, only far more potent. Users have reported a speedy charge along with intense visual and aural hallucinations that can last anywhere from hours to days.

“At first I’d think something was extremely beautiful and then it look really strange,” another user says in a recorded online account.”I looked at my girlfriend’s face for a minute and it was pitch black…the black started dripping out of her eye.”

Because the drug is relatively new–it first surfaced around 2003 in European party scenes and only recently made its way to the states–the most readily accessible information about 2C-I comes from user accounts, many of which detail frightening experiences.

Elijah Stai’s fatal overdose has prompted a crackdown on the drug in North Dakota.

On an internet forum one user describes the high as a “roller coaster ride through hell,” while another warns “do not drive on this drug,” after recounting his own failed attempt on the roadway.

Over the past few years, synthetic drugs like K-2, Spice and Bath Salts, have become increasing popular with teenagers and young adults. Their ingredients are relatively easy to obtain and order online and until recently, they weren’t classified as illegal substances. But as they come under legal scrutiny, one by one, they’ve triggered a domino effect of newer, altered, and more potent versions.

“I think [the drugs] just keep changing to try to circumvent the law,” Lindsay Wold, a detective with the Grand Forks police department, told Yahoo Shine. “Anytime we try to figure something out, it changes.” Since July, her department has launched an awareness campaign in an effort to crack down on 2C-I’s growing popularity with teens and young adults in the area. While reports of overdoses have spiked, Wold says it’s difficult to measure it’s growth in numbers.

The horrifying side effects of Bath Salts drug

According data obtained by the American Association of Poison Control, half of those exposed to 2C-I in 2011 were teenagers. That statistic was before two fatalities and multiple overdoses were linked to the drug in North Dakota.

“The unfortunate thing is if kids who are overdosing on 2C-I go in to the hospital with a physical problem, a lot of times they can’t test for it so it doesn’t show up as a drug overdose,” says Wold.

The fact that 2C-I is untraceable in tests makes it more of a challenge for doctors to treat. It also contributes to drug’s growing popularity among high school and college-age kids.

“Synthetic drugs don’t generally show up on drug tests and that’s made it popular with young adults, as well as people entering the military, college athletes, or anyone who gets tested for drugs,” Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Agency, tells Shine.

2C-I may be undetected in drug tests, but it’s effects are evident in emergency rooms.

According to James Mowry, the director of Indiana’s Poison Control Center, 2-CI overdoses–on the rise in the state–and have been known to cause seizures, kidney failure, and fatally high blood pressure.

“They do something that is called ‘uncoupling.” Mowry told an Indianapolis news station this month. “Basically, their muscles get to the point they cannot uncontract, so they sort of get rigid and then your temperature goes up really high and if you don’t treat them really aggressively, those people usually end up dying.”

Officials are taking aggressive measures to address this new national drug problem. In July, the DEA announced Operation Log Jam, the first nationwide coordinated US Law enforcement strike specifically targeting designer synthetic drugs. That same month, 2C-I was classified as a Schedule 1 subtance, making possession and distribution of the drug illegal. Those caught distributing even a small amount are facing serious criminal charges. Stai’s friend, who allegedly obtained the drug that caused his overdose, has been charged with third degree murder.

While the drug’s potential for overdose is apparent, the specific cases of fatalities are confounding. According to one site designed as a “fact sheet” for users, the dosage of the drug, which also comes as a liquid or a pill, is difficult to measure in powder form. When users snort the drug they could end up taking more than they realize, prompting an overdose. But in the case of Stai, the powder wasn’t snorted, but melted into a chocolate bar and eaten.

Some speculate those “hobby chemists”–making the drug using powders shipped from China, acetone and plant-based materials–are to blame for concocting particularly strong or toxic batches.

“Anybody with a little money to front can import chemicals, mix, and sell it,” says Carreno. “Many of these types of drugs were originally designed for research to be used on animals, not people.” In fact, 2C-I was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin, a psychopharmacologist and scientific researcher. He’s responsible for identifying the chemical make-up of the so-called “2C” family, a group of hyper-potent psychedelic synthetics. In 2011, 2C-E, a twin sister drug to 2C-I, was blamed for the death of a Minnesota teenager and the overdose of 11 others.

Because of his medical research, Shulgin has unintentionally become a godfather of the synthetic drug movement, and his work has been reprinted and reduced to plain language on drug-related web forums.

“Drugs used to take longer to get around but now with the internet they can spread by word of mouth online,” says Carreno. If drugs like Smiles are as viral as an internet meme, they have a similarly brief life-span. Already, a newer, re-booted version of the drug is cropping up on the other side of the planet, and by early accounts it’s terrifying.

The new drug called 25b-Nbome, is a derivative of 2C-I, that’s sold in tab form. This past month, the drug has been linked to the non-fatal overdoses of two young adults in Perth, Australia. It’s also be blamed for the death of a young man in the same area, who died after repeatedly slamming his body into trees and power line poles while high on the drug.

“Overdose on these drugs is a reality… and can obviously result in dire consequences,” a Perth police department official warned.

It isn’t obvious to everyone. “I can’t recommend for anyone to go out and use this legally,” says one alleged 2C-I user in a YouTube video with 12,000 views, “but why not?”

By  | Healthy Living

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