A narcopouch test is a presumptive test designed to identify illegal substances. After analysis, a presumptive test will tell you one of two things. It is definitely not a certain substance or the sample is probably the suspected substance. Similar to a portable chemistry lab, narcopouch tests are self-contained, providing an easy way for officers to detect illegal substances. The result of the test is then entered as evidence in an event where an individual has been apprehended and their substance confiscated. Expert witnesses, such as Okorie Okorocha, are then approached to vouch for the validity of the findings in court.
How Does A Narcopouch Test Work?
The narcopouch test is a closed system that is designed to rapidly screen and presumptively identify illegal substances. The closed system is more officer friendly, as it uses pre-mixed, packaged chemicals. This increases the test accuracy by eliminating the guesswork of having to measure the chemicals. Every test contains the necessary elements to perform a chemical colorimetric test. In other words, each test contains a number of solvents and reagents used to produce a predictable color reaction. A non-liquid sample of the suspected substance is placed in the pouch. This is usually in the form of a pill, crystal, powder or capsule. When the sample comes into contact with the chemicals, it causes the color reaction.
Interpreting The Color Reaction
Before using the test, the user should read the test pouch to become familiar with the expected color change. There are three things to take note of when observing the color change. The color that is produced, if there is an expected color shift and if any color layering took place. Depending on the strength of the substance tested, the value of the color may vary. It is from this color reaction that the officers are able to deduce whether the substance is a drug. The color test does not determine purity, but rather the presence of a substance. It takes between 10-20 seconds for the reaction to occur, making this test ideal for rapid testing.
Correct Use Of The Test
Before administering the test, probable cause must already have been established. The test is done simply as confirmation of the probable cause, it is not done to establish it. Tests provide the most accurate results when conducted in room temperature. Testing performed in colder climates will cause the color reactions to change slower, while testing in warmer climates will have the opposite effect. This could lead to an incorrect result. Color shifts may occur too quickly and be missed or occur too slowly and be interpreted incorrectly. Although narcopouch tests have an indefinite shelf life when properly stored, it is recommended that the tests be used within 5 years of purchase. This is because not all chemicals will remain in a mixed useful state forever and may compromise the end result. The test kits can be stored like basic office supplies. By doing this, the test kits will be avoiding direct sunlight and extreme climates, which could compromise the reliability of the test as some chemicals are affected by these conditions.
There are certain precautions that need to be taken to ensure safety of the user. The test contains strong chemicals that could cause serious harm if one is exposed to them. Below are a few recommended safety precautions for users.
- It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves when administering the test. This is to avoid exposure to the substance, as well as the strong chemicals, in the pouch. Exposure to the chemicals may cause contact burns to the skin while exposure to the substance could be absorbed through the skin.
- The pouch should be pointed away from the face of the user, and faces of those observing, when being conducted. There is a chance that the substance has a violent reaction to the chemicals and could cause the pouch to open releasing its contents. Depending on the magnitude of the reaction, injury may result from the spraying of contents.
- Various agents may create immediate heat and or expansion in the pouch. If this happens, remove the safety clip at the top of the pouch, hold the kit away from you and allow the heat and expansion to escape.
- When disposing of the test kit, the user must place it in the palm of their hand. Pull the disposable glove off inside out, enclosing the used test in the glove. Then dispose of it in the authorized department container.
Good notes need to be taken of the test’s finding as it occurs, color reactions remain for minutes or hours but never days. Expert witnesses then become necessary in court to validate the test findings, helping the jury to understand their implications. Okorie Okorocha, a master in both Pharmacology and Toxicology, has served in over 280 trials. His job in court as an expert witness in drug and alcohol, is to help juries understand complex scientific concepts and to validate their findings. You can read previous cases that Okorie has successfully won.