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Ride along shows how Lorain police curtail some drug field tests while responding to overdoses

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 05:38:11-04

When police find suspected drugs during a traffic stop or an arrest, they usually test them right there on scene.

Three overdoses a day is what Lorain police officers say they average for calls they respond to, which means they’re using field drug testing kits more often.

“You pull this top off, you put a small amount of the substance inside, you put it back in and you crush these two vials, you shake it up. If it turns green, usually a good indication of heroin,” said Officer Brent Payne with the Lorain Police Department, holding a testing kit in his hand while explaining his process.

But the high volume of overdoses is changing that process.

“We can package it up properly and we’ll send it out to the lab,” said Officer Payne.

It’s all in an effort to protect officers from the dangerous chemicals that are now being mixed with these drugs.

Some local police departments, like Painesville have stopped field testing altogether.

RELATED: State warnings are prompting law enforcement agencies to curtail testing for drugs in the field

“Our procedure would be you double bag it, send it to the crime lab, they'll do the test,” said Painesville Lieutenant Michael DeCaro.

His department is now joining states like Michigan, Arizona and Missouri, which over the past 18 months have all banned field testing.

"I see it becoming a standard,” said Lieutenant DeCaro.

In Lorain, right now there aren't any plains to completely stop testing in the field, it's left up to the acting officer on duty.