By Rick Sallinger
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– There’s a new way for parents, teachers and others to see if someone they know has been using marijuana. It’s a test kit already being used by schools and police departments around the country.
These are a similar type of strips that have been used in airports to test for explosives. Now, those strips have been redesigned to test for marijuana in schools like Yampah Mountain High School, an alternative school in Glenwood Springs.
Leigh McGown is the principal. She told CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger, like at other schools, she has had to confiscate numerous items and wondered what they contained.
McGown opened her desk drawer and showed a number of vape pens and similar devices that she has confiscated.
”It would be very hard for me to know if this one has marijuana in it these containers have marijuana in it,” she said.
Sometimes, McGown would have to call the police. Now, she is able to open one of the kits and test the items herself.
“I was able to, in one of the Q-tips, here’s the used one, I use the swab and get a red,” she explained.
Red indicates the presence of marijuana.
Miles Callahan is managing director of Denver based S2 Detection Technologies which makes and distributes the test kits. He says this is a much better way of checking for marijuana than relying on smelling it.
“This is ground breaking technology,” he said.
He demonstrated how it works by comparing items that do not have marijuana with those that do. A positive test for pot turns out red on the strips.
Vape pens can be used for nicotine, pot or both.
One student, Nicole Senetra, who says she does not use them, was asked by CBS4 about others.
“Do some use it for a cover for marijuana use?” She replied, “Sometimes not very often.”
She points out she does not use them.
And what happens when the principal catches someone with one?
She says the students really don’t like that. McGown showed CBS4 how she destroys the vape pens, e-cigarettes and other devices with a hammer.
Besides marijuana, these strips have also been developed to test for heroin, amphetamines, cocaine and fentanyl as the drug problem grows.