More employers look at add synthetics to drug tests for new hire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

More employers look at adding synthetics to drug tests for new hires

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

We've all seen surveillance images depicting synthetic drug users in fits of rage, or taking dangerous risks. But unless a user is seen in that condition, there's a common belief that just using synthetics can fly under the radar, especially on a standard drug test.

"Every small town and every big city is now facing synthetic drug use," said Corinne Kligmann, the Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Drug Testing.

That's why Kligmann says her Salt Lake City-based company began making synthetic pot tests available about two and a half years ago and bath salts tests a year later.

Right now, they can do urine tests for Spice that come back in a matter of minutes. For bath salts, the more traditional lab test takes two to three days.

"It is something that we recommend for our business clients in particular to add to a regular drug test program because it's become pervasive," Kligmann said.

Experts say the challenge in testing for synthetics is knowing what to test for. When I spoke to Forensic Pathologist Dr. Russell Diediker about the death of Charles Riels in Poplar Bluff, he says there are two main chemicals found in synthetics.

"We've identified MDPV and PVP primarily as active ingredients", Dr. Diediker explained. "What else might be in there, we're not sure."

Riels' autopsy shows the presence of PVP in his system when he died.

"I'm sure now that we've identified these two and communities are starting to move to ban those from sale, I'm sure the chemists are working on the next one," Diediker said.

And, that constantly changing formula means testing will have to evolve just to keep up.

Corinne Kligmann says they test for PVP and MDPV, but they focus on how your body metabolizes the drug, and not the drug itself. And she fears synthetic pot and cocaine are just the beginning.

"I think that we will start to see more and more synthetic drugs hitting the market and I think we really need to be paying attention to what's being sold in our local convenience stores."

So, are businesses here in the Heartland starting to test potential hires for synthetics?

 A spokeswoman for St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau says their Occupational Medicine Department will test for synthetics if an employer requests it.

Current testing on the market can show recent synthetic use, roughly 12-24 hours after the drug is consumed.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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