New Oral Test for Bath Salts
August 10, 2012
This week a drug testing laboratory, Omega Laboratories, Inc. unveiled their new test that detects synthetic marijuana (K2, Spice etc) and bath salts through oral fluid. There are few labs that can test for these substances and those that can require a few days to report results.
Creating a testing mechanism for these substances has been a complex task. Most drugs are made up of a few unalterable chemicals that are easy to detect. But the chemical structure of synthetic drugs have been continuously altered in order for manufacturers to keep ahead of the laws that ban certain substances. Once a particular substance was banned, the manufacturers would alter the chemical makeup of the synthetic drugs to keep selling them legally in head shops and gas stations.This has changed drastically since Memorial Day Weekend, because the national spotlight has been on synthetic drugs after the “Miami cannibal” attacker was reportedly on bath salts.
Since then there have been heavy moves made by Washington and the DEA to limit the distribution, sale and abuse of these drugs. The Obama Administration banned most of the chemicals associated with bath salts in June – making it almost impossible for manufactures to alter the chemicals to stay ahead of the law. Then last month the nation saw the first major raid on the synthetic drug industry with over 90 arrests, which disrupted large and small-scale distribution of the drugs.While drug testing is a good advancement in the crackdown on synthetic drugs, some question its actual efficacy in curtailing abuse. The largest subset of the population who abuse bath salts are reportedly teens and young adults – and they do so despite the negative media attention and warnings.
Unfortunately, when patients show up in the ER on synthetic substances, medical staff still don’t have an antidote to the psychosis induced state caused by these drugs – so while they may now be able to detect it through the oral test, there is still little they can do medically.However, it is excellent news for drug and alcohol treatment programs – especially in Southern California rehabs. According to staff at Hoag Hospital, the number of young adults admitted for complications related to the use of synthetic drugs has spiked significantly since early 2011. There have reportedly been a high number of young men and women from drug treatment programs who abused synthetic drugs because they didn’t show up on drug tests at their drug treatment center or sober living. Unfortunately, many ended up in the ER in various states of psychosis with most cases taking days to stabilize.
So while the ability to test for synthetic drugs may not have an overarching impact on lowering abuse, it will help curtail abuse among those who are using these drugs while in drug and alcohol treatment. Its been proven that testing and monitoring serves as a deterrent to drug use among those trying to stay sober. Therefore, if drug rehab treatment programs implement testing for synthetic drugs, they could make great strides in keeping clients substance free so they can embrace sobriety.