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Other substances may test positive as cocaine or meth

Drivers in North Carolina and throughout the country who are carrying baking soda, tortilla flour, candy and vitamins for their personal use should be sure that those items are kept in their original containers. A cheap identification kit used by some law enforcement officials is giving a positive result for cocaine when these substances are tested.

In Arkansas in 2016, two truck drivers were stopped for a routine inspection when making a delivery to a military base, and baggies of baking powder were found. One of the drivers says she uses the substance in a variety of ways. However, the guards believed that it was cocaine, and their inexpensive kit indicated that it was as well.

The two drivers' truck was impounded. They were in jail for two months, and they were not released until further tests were done. Both were fired from their jobs and struggled to get their trucks back out of impound. According to one news report, the Department of Law Enforcement Lab Systems in Florida reported more than 20 percent of substances field-tested as positive for meth turned out to be negative when subject to more sophisticated tests in the crime lab.

As this case illustrates, people may be facing drug charges after a traffic stop or being searched at home or while out in public when they were actually carrying a legal substance. Other situations may lead to people mistakenly facing drug-related charges as well. For example, they might have a medical condition that makes them appear as though they are under the influence of an illicit drug. In other cases, they might be searched illegally, or their rights might be violated in some other way. If this occurs, it might be advisable for them to discuss their options with an attorney.

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