New Police Drug Policy Takes On Hemp Oil!

New Police Drug Policy Takes On Hemp Oil!
Posted by FoM on July 22, 1999 at 06:45:10 PT
By Michael Cooper 
Source: New York Times
A New York City Police Department policy that took effect this week has some officers wondering whether poppy seed bagels are now as off-limits to them as heroin, graft or consorting with organized crime figures. 
The policy, which prohibits police officers from using commercial products that may contain illegal drugs or their derivatives, was intended, in part, to make it more difficult for police officers who test positive for drug use to argue that their test results were skewed by their use of certain foods, health care products or cosmetics. The only product mentioned by name in the policy is hemp oil, a legal item used in cooking and cosmetics that sometimes contains enough traces of the active ingredient in marijuana that it can cause people to fail drug tests. But a number of other commonplace foods and over-the-counter medicines can also cause false positive readings. They include poppy seed bagels, since poppy seeds can result in a positive test result for opiates, and certain cough medicines, which can cause people to test positive for amphetamines. The department defended the new policy, noting that while hemp oil was banned outright, other products would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis if connected with positive drug test results. Poppy seeds, for example, have not been specifically banned, said Michael A. Markman, the chief of personnel. "When you take the drug test," he said, "we ask you what foods you have eaten, what prescription drugs you are taking, what over-the-counter medications you are taking. "When you tell us poppy seeds, we ask, 'How many?' And then we tell the lab, and they know how many poppy seeds cause certain levels on the test results." The new policy, which went into effect on Monday, did not go over very well with police officers. "This is ridiculous," said a veteran supervisor. "It doesn't even say what we can or can't use. We have to check ourselves. It puts the onus on cops to read the ingredients of everything. And we're not chemists." The policy cautions: "Although some of these products clearly indicate the presence of prohibited substances, others claim not to contain illegal drugs, derivatives or ingredients. Because these illegal substances may be present in some products despite the manufacturer's claim to the contrary, members of the service are advised to exercise caution and carefully examine the list of ingredients of any product which does or might contain prohibited substances." A police official said that the policy was written after a number of cases in which public servants -- including members of the military and the police in New York and elsewhere in the country -- have successfully defended themselves from charges of using illegal drugs by claiming to have used products that can lead to so-called false-positive readings on drug tests. Recently, the official said, a New York police officer who was dismissed after failing a drug test successfully used the hemp oil defense to gain reinstatement. The union representing police officers, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, denounced the new policy. "We are not scientists or doctors," the union said in a statement. "We are police officers. To expect police officers to read a list of ingredients on a bag of snack food, many of which are named in chemical terms, is to ask the impossible." Police officers are tested for drugs when they join the force, if they exhibit bizarre behavior or if they are selected by computer for random testing. When they are called for random testing, they must leave their command and report to the offices of the department's Medical Division in Lefrak City, Queens. Under the new policy, any officer who tests positive for using hemp oil or any other products in the new class of "prohibited substances" can be dismissed. Pubdate: July 22, 1999Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company 
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Comment #2 posted by Ken on December 31, 2000 at 16:58:49 PT:
Bus drivers
We're bus drivers and are having the same problems. There must be some sort of test that can evualate a person and determine that the person is not under the influence of THC and is indeed using hemp seed oil and NOT marijuana
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Comment #1 posted by Jean Moyer on May 25, 2000 at 06:53:59 PT:
printing article
I have tried to print the above article several times with no results. Could you email it to me?  I work in a law office and find the article very interesting.Thanks.
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