Home / Badge Abuse / Researchers Expose Police Field Drug Test Kits – They Test Positive to Just About Everything

Researchers Expose Police Field Drug Test Kits – They Test Positive to Just About Everything

According to the national litigation and public policy organization, the Innocence Project, at any given time there are an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 innocent people currently locked in a cage in U.S. prisons.

Couple this staggering number with the number of people locked up for non-violent drug possession and the United States looks more like the Gulag of the 1930’s than the Land of the Free.

But how can so many innocent people be locked up, how does the state present evidence, that it doesn’t have, to get a conviction? Well, the folks at the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the U.S., Marijuana Policy Project, made a short video that explains just how easy it is for police to turn an entirely innocent person into a criminal.

During the short video, the researchers demonstrate how easy it is for police to generate a false positive during a field test for drugs.

The group tests over the counter Tylenol PM in a police test kit for cocaine — the test kit says the Tylenol is cocaine.

The group also tests the most popular chocolate in the world, Hershey’s chocolate, for marijuana, it also tests positive.

Perhaps the most disturbing test was when the group put absolutely nothing into the field test kit, and they received a positive result.

The implications associated with wrongfully accusing and then claiming to have evidence of an individual in possession of an illegal substance are formidable — to say the least. Most people are simply unaware of the fact that police test kits are a crapshoot.

According to Forensic Resources:

The director of a lab recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for forensic science excellence has called field drug testing kits “totally useless” due to the possibility of false positives. In laboratory experiments, at least two brands of field testing kits have been shown to produce false positives in tests of Mucinex, chocolate, aspirin, chocolate, and oregano.

In spite of these recommendations and multiple examples of innocent people being incarcerated for their error, police departments across the country continue to employ the use of these “totally useless” kits.

In October, college student John Harrington was thrown in prison after police, with one of these field drug test kits, tested sugar, and came up with a false positive for cocaine.

“Really, I’m really in jail right now for powdered sugar, ” John Harrington thought after it happened.

We’ve also seen the case in which police mistook Jolly Ranchers for meth and jailed an innocent man. Love Olatunijojo, 25, and an unidentified friend purchased Jolly Ranchers at the It’Sugar candy emporium in Coney Island in June of 2013. Several blocks away, cops stopped and searched the friends and mistook the candies for crystal meth. Olatunijojo was then thrown in jail.

In August, we reported on the story of a man who was held in prison for over four months because police falsely identified salt as crystal meth.

And the list goes on…

What does it say about police departments across the country who knowingly use test kits that will implicate innocent people in a crime that they did not commit that will land them in jail?

It is bad enough that the state will kidnap, cage and kill people when they possess a substance deemed illegal by the state. But, when they kidnap, cage and kill people because of their own negligence involved in testing someone’s personal items — they stoop to an entirely new low.

  • People are slowly waking up! But we need more minds on ourside! Every time you hit the ‘Like’ button, comment (even 2 words) and share this story you are helping us reach more people!

  • I knew a man who got arrested in western Nebraska in the 70s for possession of a plastic bag of tea.

  • Derek Lutz

  • Patrick Metrokz Gonzalez

  • Allison Molly Bell

    • Ugh. Trying to rev me up again. Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

  • The cops tested my tabacco once they said it tested positive as the marijuans

  • False

    • Are you sure?

    • Well, Eric… You sure have convinced me with your well thought out, unbiased counterpoints to explain exactly why the article is FALSE… Thanks!

  • The authorities are not held accountable for their mistakes.

  • Their philosophy is: Better ten innocent people in jail than one guilty person on the street!.. Prove me wrong!…

  • We should use the same tests on the cops.

  • Wow

    • Sadly I’m not surprised Huwansta Noe…. Good place to leave it…

  • What’s with the chocolate bars on the table? Munchies much?

    • It’s to show how many different things that the field drug test can say are positive for drugs

    • Oh I see

    • Positive for munchies.

    • Seriously? Did you bother reading the article, or just look at the picture?

  • Thomas Bjørnå

  • so the positively generate revenue

  • Nate hahahah

    • Don’t tag me in any of this kind of stuff anymore… My blood pressure is high enough as it is

    • Hahahah

  • Guero Loco

  • not so unlike the old PBT (manually calibrated ) tests – the officers used to calibrate them – and could set them any way they wanted

  • Evidence, we don’t need no stinking evidence……

  • All traitors to the great document

  • Just another way they can arrest you. As if they need a reason.

  • doesn’t matter your guilty before you even see the inside of the court room anyways why trust anything else they do be considered some form of justice.

  • A woman on her period will blow higher on a test for dui.. Cuz she has a fever attach ..causing her alcohol level to be higher. When it’s not.

  • same as a alcohol breath tester absolute bullshit

  • Another perfect example of guilt when 110% innocent of violating any crime.
    People are arrested far to often being innocent of anywrong. Many start believing it’s a crime just to be alive or exist due to wrong judgement of others including law enforcement.

  • Ashley Reynolds

  • I knew it!!

  • Prison industrial complex much? Knowledge is power..

  • Woah…This is really f*cked up…

  • Heres more than two words.

  • Well, this is yet ANOTHER important news story the corporate media, the principled, unbiased, for-profit corporate media, has failed to bring to our attention to inform the American people. But that is the point… A well-informed citizenry is much harder to manipulate and control than an ignorant unknowing one.

    How many more glaring examples does one need to say, NO MORE, to corporate media, and begin saying, YES, to alternate news outlets?

  • Right on.

  • All I got out of this article is that Hershey has weed in their chocolate bars.


  • Callie Bushong check this out

    • Oh my word, I seriously have no trust for the “system”. Something needs to change before everybody ends up behind bars. If that happens, maybe people would finally realize a change needs to happen!

  • to arrest, KIDNAP, and EXTORT money from people for “possession” of THEIR OWN PROPERTY would have ONCE been thought of as UN-American! How did “We, the People,” allow the USURPERS to trash our ONCE-sacred Constitution?

  • Why is that not surprising?

  • If this isn’t fraudulent & corrupt, I don’t know what is.

  • kind of like the dogs trained to detect on command…..

  • Chack this

  • damn

  • There’s no money in having accurate testing equipment.

  • …plausible deniability…

  • “But I loves muh cops!”

  • I’m not suggesting this isn’t an issue (false positives with field test kits), but the two tests shown in the video are improper. First, for the cocaine test, this requires THREE positive responses after each another, as indicated by the three colors on the package. They showed a color match on the first ampule and third ampule and excluded the result of the second ampule. If the second ampule didn’t produce the color indicated on the package, then this was NOT a false positive. The end result after breaking the third ampule is irrelevant if either of the first two ampules don’t produce the correct color response. In fact, the training for using the cocaine test kit requires the officer/person using the test to STOP immediately if any ampule doesn’t produce the proper color response. In other words, if the second ampule didn’t result in the color match required, the test should have been stopped and recorded as a negative result.

    Regarding the MJ test, basically all the chocolate did was discolor the solution, making the liquid darker, which is in no way a positive response. If an officer (or scientist) called that a positive test with such a difference in color, both would be dishonest.

    • With a 70% false positive rate, 3 in a row is pretty likely, no???

    • I don’t disagree there is a problem with the number of false positives with these kits, but based upon what I’ve seen, many of these are the result of improper use of the kits. The cocaine test should actually be one of the better tests because it requires three, separate positive results. But too often officers just look at the final result, which is meaningless if the first two ampules didn’t have the proper positive reactions.

      Then there is the subjective decision on matching the color of the liquid with what is shown on the kit. Like in the video, those guys said the brownish color would likely be considered a positive response even though it wasn’t the same color printed on the test kit. That’s subjective. And speculative on the part of those doing the tests.

      I think the best way to find out the percentage of false positives would be to compare crime lab results to field test kit results.

      Hope that makes sense.

  • David Dillery


  • Our local law enforcement made the news for this exact reason…

  • Wow u mean to tell me the police are dishonest.

  • Josiah Ashwood

  • saw a guy test negative then eat a slice of bread then test positive for alcohol

  • handy harry !

  • why am i not surprised

  • theres also something called “False positives” certain foods, drinks and medications can trigger those.

  • thank you.

  • everything

  • Tired of double standards and government hypocrisy? If so please, help us reach more people by clicking: ‘like’ + commenting (even 1 word) + sharing. Thank you! (y)

  • Jeremy Hatter

  • Excellent page

  • No surprise there, ya guilty even before they slave test you. Goddamn cross- contamination from the dirty hypocritical mother f*ckers doing the testing. But they’ve godda reach there quotas right.

    • pfft aint no cross contamination, these tests are fucked right out of the box

  • sad

  • I had a Native American friend that was thrown in the brig for having blue corn powder that turned…blue when they put some sort of liquid on it.

  • Karrie Mullins-Potter

  • Whiskey tango foxtrot

  • Real criminals wear badges

  • Joe McCall I’ve been saying this for years

  • Autumn Clancy

  • $$$

  • Lord be with us, universe protect us!

    • Shut it. Freaking god freaks think their lord will make everything right. Get your head out of your ass

    • Raise your voice and stop having more faith in God than in mankind. They are the answer, tell them not God.

    • I disagree, most humans are corrupt , why would I go to them? We all came from somewhere, ultimately all made of the same physical properties, water, atoms, I am sorry neither you Mark or Kevin have any hope or faith in something other than humans.
      Mark why such the hatred for God, a God, the physical properties of the universe?
      Kevin, can you speak directly to the Rothchilds and tell them to stop? or the President? or to anyone who owns and has a lot of money? When you do, I would be very interested in knowing it, seeing it all in writing.

    • Even if there was a god, it/he/whatever, should be damn well ashamed of itself. A god that only cares for people in rich countries but shits on the destitute in third world countries. Make me sick. Sheila, I am sure you go to your million dollar church and you feel great in your beliefs. You all are messed up, sorry, but you really are.

  • This is kind of moot.

    In a few years (if some places aren’t already trying them ) there will be new field tests that are more specific for substances.

    They will use what are called aptamers. I’ve worked in a company that made aptamers and we did offer consulting for drug tests on the web page

    I have seen aptamers detect the presence of caffeine but reject it’s most related molecule which only differed by I think a methyl group.

    And it does not take much of the suspected substance to test.

    • It’s hardly a moot point if the new tests are years out. How many innocent people will go to jail in that time.

    • Doesn’t help if hundreds or even thousands of innocent people are in prison for these false tests!

    • Oh ur sooo smart ya. Ok n use that brain n figure out how many got illegally charged for having nothing….

    • Idiot

    • The point is stef you moron, is these sites at times give misinformation to elicit a response.

      It’s moot because it isn’t that cop block is showing that police outright refused to use new more specific tests. It just shows they are using old technology which a lot of organization are guilty of its not unique to the police. Plus any competent lawyer can successful argue against these kinds of tests in court while drunk.

    • Devorick you obviously haven’t read much of my other posts. I call out both sides when they say something retarded like the simpleton meme you posted. Whats funny is you are too stupid to realize you fall under one of the categories but analogus to worshiping anti police

  • If its illegal, its illegal; get over it or change it. Tests that always give false positives are another matter.

    • I see no reason why you should be forced to follow rules other people come up with, that the majority of society does not agree with

    • I sort of agree, in principle, but just disobeying whatever law you don’t like can lead to anarchy, which you really don’t want. There’s always someone meaner than you.

    • Slaves ask, “is it legal.” A free man asks, “is it right?”

    • Your definition of anarchy is very different from mine

    • You should change your name from Bird to Sheep.

  • Wow they don’t even need to bring along a drug to plant. They can just put anything they want in a test they know will most always be positive.

  • I have a family member who was pulled over and had some herbal tea. It tested positive for marijuana and she was convicted for it.

  • Of course!

  • WHAT is Dr. Bronners soap doing in the photo? Seriously.

  • Grounds for arrest. “He looked at me” Keep your eyes to the ground Citizen”

  • Very disturbing

  • Why do we expect humans to behave better than the rest of us when given authority? Law Enforcement is a government entity and behaves no better than the rest of government.

  • I hope this isn’t true! :'(

  • Like someone else said, “Lawyer Up!”

  • Should I be shocked at the lack of accuracy, or should I be alarmed that nearly everything has drugs in it?

  • dam didnt no that

  • Unbelievable. How many innocent people are put in jail, get fined and lose their jobs because of this….and they wonder why most people despise them. :/

  • will look at this later. TY Laura Paxton

  • I’m slightly concerned that I can’t follow the sources of this article.

  • This report is truly disgusting. Bribes have been paid somewhere and innocent people pay the price. A lot of people have a lot to hide, they must have known this test was not fit for purpose and pushed it through regardless. What about human rights. All those wrongly accused because of this test should be MASSIVELY compensated and the true criminals thrown in jail.

  • It’s all about the money money money money money

  • Stavvy Robbin

  • MikeParent

    We’d all be better off if the police focused on crimes that had actual victims.

  • David Lewis

    is it possible that hershey’s chocolate could have mmj in it as it is the most popular chocolate brand???? who manufactures the tests???

  • Matthew Renaud

    The USA has private prison’s so of course there is going to be corrupt testing, the more slaves you have in prison system the more money your owners are going to make off of you.