Reason for false positive tests unknown


By Amantha Garpiel - [email protected]



SIDNEY — The reason for a false positive drug test for synthetic marijuana — conducted on a bag of Italian seasoning and several bottles of the same product — remains unknown.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15 , the School Resource Officer at Sidney Middle School, Deputy Brian Dotson with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, was informed by a teacher that a student had attempted to throw away what appeared to be a small baggie of marijuana. The student was brought to the principal and the SRO and the substance was tested with a mobile detection kit by the SRO and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The test came back positive for synthetic marijuana.

Following the positive test, the student’s mother was contacted. She was clear that there are no drugs in her family’s home and that her children had been playing “cops and robbers” and the bag the student had was actually Italian seasoning.

The sheriff’s office proceeded to contact Sidney Police Department to double check the mobile detection test results. The SPD’s mobile test also tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

Following the two positive mobile tests, a detective purchased containers of the brand of Italian seasoning the mother shared with the officers and deputies, to test with the mobile detection kits. Those containers also tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

After the multiple positive tests, the sheriff’s office tested the seasonings with their marijuana testing kits. The tests all came back negative.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is not sure why the mobile detection tests were positive for synthetic marijuana, but it is clear that the student was not in possession of synthetic marijuana and no charges will be filed.

“There must be something in that Italian seasoning that causes a positive test for synthetic marijuana,” said Sheriff Jim Frye.

Frye also noted the mobile tests are not used in filing charges, if the office were to pursue charges in this or any case the substances would be sent to the lab for a more comprehensive analysis before further action would be taken.

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By Amantha Garpiel

[email protected]