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Tucson crime lab to get new testing equipment for marijuana-related DUI cases

Published On: 11-09-2017 in Category: substance abuse

Tucson crime lab to get new testing equipment for marijuana-related DUI cases

The state crime lab in Tucson, Arizona, is set to get its own brand new equipment to analyze drug traces in urine and blood in cases of driving under the influence (DUI). The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) will use the grant of over $200,000 from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to procure a Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer for the crime lab, stated an official release on Oct. 13, 2017.

“The addition of this technology in our southern laboratory will enhance efficiency in crime laboratory operations and improve service to law enforcement agencies in the southern part of the state,” said Vince Figarelli, superintendent of the Arizona DPS Crime Lab.

The new technology is more precise and sensitive than the previous ones and has already been deployed at the state crime lab in Phoenix. This equipment will be used to deal with DUI-related cases involving THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and other marijuana components, which have led to several mishaps on the roads in recent years.

According to supervising forensic scientist Estuardo Miranda at the Tucson crime lab, the new technology will help law enforcement agencies in obtaining faster DUI results with low maintenance costs. “The metabolites can gives us insights of when the drug was used. Instead of days, we can bring it down to hours of use,” said Miranda. According to the Arizona Highway Safety Annual Report, authorities made over 27,000 impaired driving arrests in 2015 with around 5,688 related to driving under the influence of drugs.

Marijuana is major contributor to DUI cases

With more marijuana dispensaries coming up across the country, the odds of cannabis-related DUI cases on roads are increasing day by day. While there is no legal limit of active THC in blood as in the case of alcohol, several states accept five nanograms of active THC as the limit. When a blood test detects levels exceeding five nanograms, the driver may be arrested on DUI charges.

Notably, THC usually remains undetected during a drug test. However, the non-psychoactive marijuana metabolite THC-COOH, which lingers in the system for an extended period, can be traced easily. Studies show marijuana metabolites are generally accumulated in fat cells, which make detoxification a very complicated and lengthy process unlike other substances such as cocaine, LSD and heroin. In the United States, most drug tests are said to be positive if the THC density is above 50mg/ml. Also, the concentration of toxins in the bodies of chronic pot users and someone who has smoked a single joint will differ greatly.

Regardless of its legal status, it is important to remember that marijuana use in any form is accompanied by several health hazards. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has categorized marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the highest rank as defined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Leading a marijuana-free life

If you or your loved one is battling addiction to marijuana or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The Phoenix Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you avail one of the best addiction treatment programs and embark on your journey to sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 480-696-5152 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.

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