Prisons

The $2 Drug Test Keeping Inmates in Solitary

Reason tried out the field test kits used to test for drugs in prison. They were unreliable and confusing.

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Billy Steffey is determined not to eat the shot.

Steffey is a former federal inmate, and a "shot" is federal prison slang for a disciplinary infraction—as in, "They gave him a shot." When you can't dodge it, a shot is, like a punch in the mouth, something you have to eat.

According to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Steffey conspired to smuggle drugs into prison in the form of a sheaf of legal papers laced with an illicit substance. The evidence against Steffey is a string of suspicious emails and two field tests, which you can buy off the internet for about $2 apiece, that came back "presumptive positive" for amphetamines.

Steffey is no longer incarcerated, but he is still trying to fight the BOP for stripping him of good behavior credits and throwing him in solitary confinement for five months based on what he says is an unverified test with a well-established track record of leading to wrongful arrests.

"It appears that the Bureau of Prisons regularly deprives prisoners of good conduct time credit, thereby lengthening their time in prison, based on a testing protocol known for its high rate of error, without even minimal procedures to ensure that the tests are conducted correctly and that questionable test results are subject to confirmation," Steffey's appeal to the 9th Circuit, filed last August, argued.

Incredulous readers may roll their eyes—prisons are full of both drugs and liars—but hundreds of botched cases across the country have raised serious concerns about law enforcement's reliance on these types of test kits. Forensic experts say the tests can't be relied on alone; they're not admissible evidence in court; and the manufacturers explicitly warn that all tests should be sent to crime labs to be verified. New York's prison system suspended the use of similar tests last summer because of such worries. Yet the federal Bureau of Prisons relies solely on such tests to put inmates in solitary confinement, take away good behavior credits that count toward early release, and strip them of visitation rights. Meanwhile, low evidence standards make it just about impossible for federal inmates to challenge the results of these tests in court. Steffey and other formerly incarcerated people say inmates are being jammed up on bad evidence with virtually no avenue for recourse. The BOP did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The issues with these tests have been known for decades and are easily verifiable. Reason bought two packs of field drug tests and got positive results for several common, legal substances. But Steffey says the current system gives correctional officers an easy way to gin up shots against inmates.

"They don't want to hear that, because it's one of their tools that they have in their toolbox to get rid of people without question," he says. "They give them a shot, they send it to [regional headquarters] and say, 'Hey, we got to transfer this guy to a higher-security prison.'"

How the Tests Work, and Don't

These test kits—plastic baggies with small glass vials inside—use basic chemical reactions to produce colors indicating the presence of various compounds. The user puts a small amount of the suspect substance into the baggie, cracks the vials, gently shakes, and watches to see what color results.

The Bureau of Prisons uses drug field tests manufactured by Safariland. Several companies make similar kits, but they all rely on the same underlying chemical reactions.

Heather Harris is an assistant professor of forensic science at Arcadia University who trains future chemists to use these color tests. "Atoms can combine together in groups—we call them functional groups—and these color tests are simply looking for the presence of a particular group," Harris says. "When they find that group, they then proceed to go through a reaction that has a color as its product."

A police officer or prison guard who comes across a suspicious substance could use Safariland's NIK Test A, a general screening test that can turn a variety of colors, to see what the substance might be. If the clear liquid turns orange, then brown, the substance might be methamphetamines or amphetamines. The officer then moves on to NIK Test U, which either turns blue to indicate a presumptive positive result for methamphetamines, or burgundy. A burgundy result on Test U, in conjunction with the orange-brown result in Test A, is considered presumptive positive for amphetamines.

These tests alone aren't admissible evidence in almost any court in the U.S., but they are considered probable cause for a police officer to arrest someone. And in prison, a "positive" field test can be enough to get inmates thrown in solitary confinement and stripped of other privileges.

The advantages of such tests for law enforcement are that they're cheap, they're portable, and they don't require a chemistry degree to use. The disadvantage is that, as simple as the tests are, they're far from immune to user error. The vials can be broken in the wrong order, for example. Colors are subjective. And the compounds that the tests screen for aren't exclusive to the illegal drugs the tests are supposed to indicate.

"A methamphetamine test might be targeting a functional group that is present on methamphetamine," Harris says. "That functional group, however, is not specific to methamphetamine. It's common in the world, so there's a variety of substances—some of which we know, but some of which we don't know—that are going to possess this group and allow this color test to produce a color."

Harris says the over-the-counter cold medicine Benadryl can produce positive results in field tests for several types of illicit drugs. And the list of known substances that can trigger a positive result in these tests is ever-expanding. Last year in Georgia, a college football quarterback was arrested after bird poop on his car tested presumptive positive for cocaine.

Reason bought packs of both NIK Test A and NIK Test U to experiment with. They can be easily purchased online, and they're simple to use. Yet the results are up for interpretation.

A small piece of rosemary turned NIK Test A a light yellow-brown color, which could pass as a presumptive positive result if one really wanted it to. Coffee grounds also turned the solution in NIK Test A a dark brown, although it was unclear whether that was the result of a chemical reaction or just the color of the grounds themselves. Various types of paper seemed to have little effect on NIK Test A, though the solution turned the paper brown.

In addition, NIK Test U, the follow-up test for methamphetamines and amphetamines, turns burgundy when the ampule is cracked and shaken, regardless of whether anything is placed in the pouch. Steffey has put out a YouTube video demonstrating that a plain piece of paper will yield a burgundy result. This means that a presumptive positive for amphetamines in NIK Test A would be confirmed by NIK Test U by default.

This is not an error. Safariland's instructions note that "only after Test A goes from orange to brown AND Test U turns can you presumptively identify the substance of an amphetamine-type compound. Red in Test U alone does NOT indicate amphetamine-type compounds." The company did not return requests for comment for this story.

Steffey's Story

In 2017, Steffey was serving a nine-year sentence at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Lompoc, a low-security federal prison in California, for his role in an online identity theft ring. He says it took him about four years to work his way down to that security level, and he was three months away from a possible transfer to a minimum-security federal prison camp. Although they're not "Club Fed," as tabloid headlines like to joke, the camps are as good as it gets in the BOP system.

"It would have been a night-and-day difference," even coming from a low-security prison, Steffey says. "You get furloughs to go home and see your family. There's a lot more freedom."

Steffey says he got on the bad side of a couple of correctional officers, who began regularly searching his cell and generally making his life difficult.

In December of that year, a BOP mailroom staffer opened a package "of what appeared to be unfilled legal work" addressed to another inmate. The staffer noted that the papers felt "unusually thick" and gritty and looked discolored.

Contraband is a major problem for federal and state prison systems—especially synthetic marijuana, commonly called K2 or "spice," and suboxone, a synthetic opioid. Inmates have figured out novel ways of smuggling the drugs in, such as lacing paper with liquid K2. The paper is then cut up into small pieces and smoked.

They smoke it "and then they flip out," Steffey says. "They have seizures; get super high. They just do dumb shit. It's a big epidemic in prison."

To combat the flood of drugs, many state prisons have taken steps like banning physical mail and used book donations, which they claim are a major source of contraband. The BOP uses Safariland's NIK field kits to check for suspected drugs.

A BOP investigator tested the legal papers addressed to the inmate with NIK Test A, the general screening test, and noted that it "had an immediate orange rapidly turning brown color, indicating Amphetamines," according to court records. The investigator then tested another piece of the paper with NIK Test U, which "turned an immediate dark burgundy color, indicating Amphetamines."

The investigator linked the package to Steffey after finding an email sent to him that included the tracking number of the package. BOP investigators also discovered a chain of email messages that appeared to be thinly veiled code about money transactions and deliveries.

Steffey says he was in fact having federal court records sent to another inmate, sandwiched between some blank divorce forms downloaded off a court website. The BOP submitted pictures of the papers as exhibits in Steffey's lawsuit, but they are too low-resolution to read.

In prison, inmates often demand to see each other's paperwork to verify what they're in for and whether they've snitched. Prison has a strictly enforced social order, and sex criminals, especially those whose crimes involve children, are at the very bottom of it—shunned at best. So inmates sometimes run background checks on each other to make sure no one is lying. Getting another inmate's paperwork in the mail isn't allowed, but legal mail from an attorney is supposed to be privileged. Steffey says a contact of his was using a real lawyer's name to send someone else's court records to another inmate. He insists it had nothing to do with drugs.

"From Day One, I denied it," Steffey says. "I was like, you guys are crazy. Let's see the test. I'll pay my own money to have it sent to a lab."

Instead, a BOP disciplinary hearing officer found Steffey guilty of introducing contraband narcotics into the prison. The officer threw him in the Special Housing Unit (SHU)—a sanitized term for solitary confinement—for five months, where he was held in a cell for at least 23 hours a day.

"That was really tough on me," Steffey says.

In 2011, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture concluded that solitary confinement beyond 15 days constituted cruel and inhumane punishment. But tens of thousands of incarcerated people in the U.S. are subjected to it for months, sometimes years, at a time.

The incident meant Steffey also lost any shot of going to a minimum-security camp. Instead, he was transferred to FCI Sheridan, a medium-security prison in Oregon. The BOP also stripped him of 41 days of "good time" credit for keeping a clean disciplinary record. There is no parole in the federal prison system, so accruing good time credit is one of the only ways that inmates can shave time off their sentences.

All of these steps were taken based on flawed physical evidence.

Safariland's NIK kits, as well as those produced by other companies, aren't supposed to be used on impure materials. Harris says the dyes and other chemicals in paper make it unreliable for color tests. "It's just not designed to work that way. Right off the bat, when you have a piece of paper and you pull out your field test kit, you've made the wrong decision," she says. "That's not going to give you a reliable result."

After he exhausted his appeals within the BOP bureaucracy—all denied—Steffey filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court in January 2019. He argued that the NIK tests were being improperly used and requested that his good time credits be restored.

While his case was dragging through court, though, Steffey got an unexpected reprieve. In July 2020, he was among the thousands of federal inmates granted compassionate release by federal judges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Field Tests Under Fire

Roughly two months after Steffey's release, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Services (DOCCS) suddenly suspended use of drug field tests produced by another company, Sirchie.

"Effective immediately and until further notice, all SIRCHIE NARK II drug testing will be suspended and no misbehavior report will be issued, nor any adverse action taken against an incarcerated individual for suspected contraband drugs where a test is necessary," a leaked DOCCS memo obtained by Gothamist read.

The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, a union of state correctional workers, told local news outlets that DOCCS found there were false-positive results with the testing kits being used to identify contraband drugs. "Inmates who were penalized for contraband drugs have been released from special housing units and their records were expunged," The Auburn Citizen reported last August.

A spokesperson for the DOCCS says the agency "is reviewing its current procedure for the testing of suspected contraband drugs. During this review, we have suspended testing. As part of the review, DOCCS is working with the Office of the Inspector General, and cannot comment further at this time."

The New York Offices of the Inspector General declined to comment on the investigation.

Prison advocates are calling for a similar suspension of the use of NARK II tests in Massachusetts prisons after more than a dozen attorneys said they were falsely accused of sending drugs to their incarcerated clients, who were then put in solitary confinement for receiving legitimate legal mail. Unlike in the federal prison system, Massachusetts prisons send all field tests to outside labs for confirmation. This at least captures the bogus results, although it still leaves inmates to suffer in solitary in the meantime.

"That's how [these tests] were integrated into forensic science in the first place, to be followed up with confirmatory tests," Harris says. "The prisons have really gone off on their own to use it as this kind of one and only definitive test for whatever punishment or other purposes they're using it for. They're doing this outside of what I would say is the generally accepted use in the community."

This is why Sirchie's webpage for the NARK II test specifically warns, "NOTE: ALL TEST RESULTS MUST BE CONFIRMED BY AN APPROVED ANALYTICAL LABORATORY! The results of this test are merely presumptive. NARK® only tests for the possible presence of certain chemical compounds. Reactions may occur with, and such compounds can be found in, both legal and illegal products."

Sirchie did not return requests for comment for this story.

Cotton Candy, Baking Soda, and Other Narcotics

Although police departments must rely on crime labs to confirm or invalidate field tests, that doesn't stop innocent people from being arrested and jailed based on preliminary test kits.

In 2016, sheriff's deputies in Monroe County, Georgia, arrested Macon resident Dasha Fincher after a search of her car turned up a plastic baggie of blue crystals. A NARK II field test of the substance returned a presumptive positive for methamphetamines, and Fincher was charged with trafficking and possession of meth with intent to distribute.

Fincher's bail was placed at $1 million. She sat in jail for three months until a state crime lab determined that the -substance was exactly what Fincher had claimed it was when she was arrested: blue cotton candy. A follow-up investigation by a Georgia news station found that the NARK II test kit produced 145 false positives in Georgia in 2017.

Fincher sued the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Sirchie, but a federal judge dismissed the suit in May 2020. The judge ruled that Fincher hadn't shown that Sirchie's product was defective or that the company had failed to warn law enforcement officers of the tests' shortfalls. And the judge ruled that because the deputies reasonably believed the tests they used were reliable, they had both sovereign and qualified immunity from Fincher's lawsuit.

Similar cases abound. In 2016, an Arkansas couple spent two months in jail after a sandwich bag of baking soda in their truck tested "positive" for cocaine. "We tested it three different times out of two different kits to make sure that we weren't having any issue, and each time we got a positive for controlled substance," the Fort Chaffee police chief told a local news outlet.

A Florida man was wrongfully jailed in 2017 after a field test confused his donut glaze with meth. A 2018 drug seizure in North Carolina originally touted as "$2 million worth of 'the deadly opioid fentanyl'" turned out to be white sugar.

In 2019, Reason obtained body camera footage showing a former Florida sheriff's deputy arresting an innocent man after the deputy allegedly found methamphetamines in the man's car. The footage shows the officer performing a NARK II test for methamphetamines, which turned dark red instead of blue, indicating a negative result, according to the manufacturer. That deputy has since been indicted on more than 50 criminal charges related to framing innocent people.

Some defendants—facing an extended stay in jail and threats from prosecutors about the sentences they'll get if they turn down a deal—plead guilty to crimes they know they didn't commit. Presumptive positive drug tests give the prosecutors leverage with which to pressure defendants in this way.

A 2016 ProPublica/New York Times investigation found that 212 people pleaded guilty between January 2004 and June 2015 to drug possession based on Houston Police Department field tests that were later invalidated by crime labs.

'No Controlled Substance…Identified'

Outside of prison, those accused of drug possession based on a field test at least have some recourse to the criminal court system, where the high standards of evidence require presumptive positive field tests to be confirmed by crime labs. But inside, incarcerated people are at the mercy of bureaucracies even more strongly tilted against them.

Alberto Abarca, a former federal inmate, says he, like Steffey, was punished for drug contraband based on a bogus NIK test. In 2017, correctional officers at FCI Sheridan put Albarca and his cellmate, Carlos Vasquez-Maldonado, in the SHU and accused the two of possessing drugs in their cell. The guards had found an ink pen with a suspicious orange substance inside. NIK Tests A and U both came back "presumptive positive" for amphetamines.

Albarca says what the officers found was an empty Pilot G2 pen, and the suspicious substance was simply the stopper fluid that keeps the ink in gel pens from leaking or drying out. The fluid is typically grease or oil with other proprietary substances added to thicken it.

"I had been in the HVAC apprenticeship program for four years, and I was risking losing all that over this faulty NIK test kit," Abarca says. "My cellie, we said, 'Please, just send it to the lab. We'll pay for it.'"

Although the BOP requires all positive urinalysis screenings for drugs to be verified by forensic labs, it has no similar policy for contraband tests. Courts have ruled that inmates have no right to demand independent verification of drug tests.

According to documents filed by the BOP in a 2019 lawsuit by Vasquez-Maldonado challenging his punishment, a BOP officer tested a fresh ink cartridge to see if a false positive resulted, but it did not. Vasquez-Maldonado's lawsuit was dismissed.

Because the BOP does not require NIK tests for contraband to be independently verified, it's impossible to say how often it happens, but Reason found at least one case where a federal inmate was punished based on the results of a NIK test that was later invalidated by a crime lab.

Brett Blaisure was incarcerated at FCI Beaumont, a federal prison in Texas. Blaisure practiced Wicca, and as part of his observance he wore a leather pouch around his neck with sage, frankincense, salt, and myrrh inside it. On December 4, 2014, he says, a correctional officer confiscated his pouch and tested its contents for drugs.

The disciplinary report says that using NIK Test A, Blaisure's pouch "tested positive for Amphetamine." The report makes no mention of NIK Test U, which is supposed to follow Test A.

As a result of the infraction, Blaisure spent 30 days in the SHU. He also lost 41 days of good time credits and had visitations suspended for nearly six months.

After he got out of solitary, Blaisure says he convinced BOP staffers to send the alleged narcotics to a local crime lab to be tested. After waiting six or seven weeks, he asked about the results. Blaisure says a BOP official told him, "'Look, we're not going to go with the lab results. We're going to go with what happened in the office. We used NIK Test A, and it was positive, so don't come bother us. Don't come and ask us about it anymore. Your shot is staying the way it is."

After spending two years going through the Bureau of Prisons' grievance process and appealing his disciplinary sanctions, fruitlessly, Blaisure filed a petition in federal court in July 2016 seeking to restore his lost good time credits. (Federal inmates must exhaust their administrative appeals before they can file a lawsuit, and the exhaustion process often lives up to its name.)

When a federal judge ordered the BOP to respond to Blaisure's claims, the government lawyer preparing the response found the nearly two-year-old results of the Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory's test of the contents from Blaisure's pouch: "No controlled substance or dangerous drug identified," the lab had concluded.

"The whole time they had had a negative result from the lab saying that what I possessed was plant matter, period," Blaisure says. "They had this paperwork and knowledge that I wasn't allowed to possess for two years, and they made me suffer the consequences."

The BOP disciplinary hearing officer submitted a sworn affidavit that he was unaware of the test. The BOP then expunged the violation from Blaisure's record, making his lawsuit moot.

"I can't even count how many people I saw that happen to," Blaisure says of inmates being hit with bogus contraband accusations, "but I can guarantee you I'm one of the very few that I know of that took it all the way to federal court and won."

'All the Process Due Them'

Blaisure has reason to sound proud of beating the rap. Almost no one else ever does.

Courts give wide latitude to prisons to manage their daily affairs and security, and that extends to prison disciplinary hearings. In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Superintendent v. Hill that the BOP needs to show only "some evidence" to support a disciplinary sanction revoking an inmate's good time credits—a far lower bar than both the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that applies in criminal court and the "preponderance of evidence" standard used in civil cases.

"We hold that the requirements of due process are satisfied if some evidence supports the decision by the prison disciplinary board," the Court wrote. "The relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board."

Lower federal courts, building on Hill's precedent, have held that a single positive drug test is sufficient to support disciplinary action; that those tests do not have to have a 100 percent confidence factor; and that inmates have no due process right to have those tests verified by an outside lab.

In 1989, a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected an inmate's argument that relying solely on unconfirmed positive results to impose sanctions violated the right to procedural due process. It ruled that the single field test afforded to many incarcerated people is "all the process due them under the Constitution and interpreting case law."

Roger Terry, an inmate in a Maryland state prison, filed a lawsuit in 2011 after he was put in solitary confinement for nearly 200 days following a positive NIK test of coffee grounds that was later invalidated by a crime lab. Such is the majesty of the law that a U.S. District Court judge dismissed his suit, ruling that he had suffered no deprivation of due process or cruel or unusual punishment.

Some state courts have been more skeptical. In 2018, the Superior Court of Imperial County, California, ruled in the case People v. Chacon that unverified NIK tests were not admissible evidence in grand jury proceedings.

The court held a lengthy evidentiary hearing, where it became clear that the local district attorney's office frequently used NIK test kits as evidence to obtain grand jury indictments, despite a number of innocent people having been indicted and clear warnings from Safariland that the tests should be verified.

"When confirmatory testing is done by the Department of Justice [in] some Grand Jury charged cases there turns out to be no controlled substances," the court noted.

The testimony in Chacon also established that the term "presumptive positive," as used by law enforcement and prosecutors, was largely meaningless, since the tests can't discriminate between illicit substances and the dozens of known licit substances that also trigger color reactions.

"One of the many examples of the NIK testing errors was a case where heroin was identified using a NIK colorimetric test and a second Valtrox colorimetric test," the court wrote in its ruling. "The substance was determined to be chocolate. So, if one were to accept the logic proffered by the People that the NIK heroin test is presumptive positive for heroin it would also be true that it is a presumptive positive test for chocolate. Likewise, if the NIK colorimetric test for methamphetamine is presumptive the same colorimetric test would be a presumptive test for 'Equal,' the sugar substitute. The NIK Color test for heroin does not meet any recognized forensic scientific standard."

Testifying in the case, Allison Baca, a criminalist at the California Department of Justice, said that the agency does not use the term "false positive" when talking about color tests, because they do not consider such tests to be either positive or negative. The kits are screening tests that help the user determine what a substance might be.

And this is the rub of Steffey's argument in his lawsuit. He isn't saying that NIK tests are producing false positives—that is, incorrectly indicating the presence of drugs. He's saying that the tests don't provide reliable positive or negative evidence in the first place and that untrained BOP staffers are misusing and misinterpreting the tests.

Caught in a Bind

Unlike in Chacon, however, the federal district court that eventually heard Steffey's lawsuit dismissed his case in May 2020 and denied his motion to hold an evidentiary hearing on the reliability of NIK tests. Without that hearing or additional records from the BOP, Steffey and his public defender weren't able to put together a strong record to back up his appeal.

Federal inmates trying to fight NIK test determinations are caught in a bind: They have no procedural grounds to challenge their punishment as long as these tests are considered "some evidence," but none of them can get far enough in court to challenge the validity of that evidence, even though there is an ample record to support their claims—including from the government itself. As early as 1978, the U.S. Department of Justice published standards for using drug field tests that advised the tests "should not be used for evidential purposes."

Other law enforcement agencies have changed their policies over the last decade. In 2013, Travis County, Texas, stopped accepting guilty pleas for low-level drug possession before official crime lab results came in. The move followed the discovery of a dozen false positives linked to field tests. Harris County, Texas, and Portland, Oregon, did the same in 2016. The Houston Police Department discontinued the use of drug field tests in 2017.

As for Steffey, the grant of compassionate release that got him out of prison early also messed up his case, because the government was able to argue that he'd already received the relief he was seeking. He voluntarily dismissed his 9th Circuit appeal in December. But Steffey, still insistent on dodging the shot, says he plans on refiling the case as a civil rights lawsuit instead of a habeas petition.

The fact is, even if Steffey is lying about his own conduct, he's right about the unreliability of these field tests.

"It seems like it would be simple enough to prove my case, but no one will listen because no one gives a fuck about what happens to inmates," Steffey says. "But I promise you, it happens to people on the street too. I guarantee it."

NEXT: Strange Bedfellows Oppose Improving Maine’s Food Sovereignty Law

Prisons Drug Testing Drug War Court of Appeals Due Process

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104 responses to “The $2 Drug Test Keeping Inmates in Solitary

  1. They were unreliable and confusing.

    Feature, bug. It’s the way the law works now and it’s the way law enforcement likes it.

    1. Not to worry, light being shed on the outrageous fact that unreliable $2 tests are being used will prompt a swift government solution… $50 unreliable tests.

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  2. We really need to #EmptyThePrisons. There’s just no point keeping all those people locked up when they could be providing cost-effective labor for billionaire employers like our benefactor Charles Koch.

    #BillionairesKnowBest

    1. That’s why they’re still in jail. No minimum wage in jail.

  3. “Steffey and other formerly incarcerated people”

    I see the “enslaved person” narrative is contagious.

    There’s a perfectly good word already. “Prisoner”. Unless you get paid by the word, of course, in which case go ahead, get more pay, lose more readers.

    1. A lot of good info in this article, but repetitive, wordy, and way too long. Goes well with “incarcerated people”.

      Reminds me of writers who utilize “utilize” instead of using “use”. Every such triple syllable expansion adds zero clarity but apparently makes writers feel better.

      1. “Every such triple syllable expansion adds zero clarity but apparently makes writers feel better.”

        Everybody knows that over-utilization of a polysyllabic lexicon, while sometimes obfuscating the subject matter, often generates significant amounts of endorphins.

        (I promise, my only attempt at humor for the day)

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          1. I will bear that in mind.

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          2. “…utilize…”
            “Use” in a rented tux.
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  4. “And the judge ruled that because the deputies reasonably believed the tests they used were reliable, they had both sovereign and qualified immunity from Fincher’s lawsuit.”

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  7. https://twitter.com/MarkChangizi/status/1403338685022605319?s=19

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  8. https://twitter.com/robbystarbuck/status/1404066721904922633?s=19

    This is what comes next. Like I said when this started, if you allow the elite to shut down the world, take away jobs, take away your ability to worship and force you into medical treatments, they won’t relinquish that power, they’ll only push for more control. I’ll never comply. [Link]

    1. This is hilarious. This guy is obviously selling fear in order to push a narrative. He has lots of willing customers like you who demand fear each day in order to get your daily dopamine hits.

      First, the author talks about this “climate lockdown” article, which is an opinion piece that was reprinted on this corporate sustainability consortium site. The author wants you to think that ExxonMobil or Shell are endorsing the concept of “climate lockdowns” when that is not at all the case here. But it does push a populist-friendly agenda of “Big Business is coming to take your livelihood away and crush you under the heel of corporate power”.

      Second, the author tries to make the case that the sinister bad actors here treat human beings as if they are a disease themselves, like in the style of how the robots treat humans in the Matrix, or something. “OMG they want to eradicate humans in the name of the climate!” But if you actually read the referenced article, they are making the point instead that diseases like COVID-19, and Ebola, and AIDS, are a result of human interventions in the environment. All of these viruses came from humans messing around in the natural environment in some way. So they are diseases that are emblematic of the Anthropocene. Not that humans are the disease itself. But again the author of this scary video couldn’t sell fear so easily if he had to be actually truthful. He instead wants to give you the misleading impression that Big Business wants to crush you and murder you in the name of the environment.

      This is fearmongering, this is demagoguery, this is what the Twitter twits do on a daily basis, and idiots like Nardz and Jesse and Ras soak it up.

      At some point I think we have to conclude that people like Nardz WANT his opponents to be cartoon caricatures of evil, so as to justify his own existence. If Nardz’s opponents were just regular people who perhaps disagreed with him on what the tax rate ought to be, or how much to spend on health care, or some boring topic like that, how would Nardz generate his outrage and justify his murderous desires? “They want to raise tax rates by 2%! That’s it, TIME FOR WAR!!!” That doesn’t quite sell as easily as the proposition that his enemies hate America, hate humanity, want to murder and enslave the entire planet in order to… I don’t know, do whatever Lex Luthor would try to do in the comics when he concocted his evil plans.

      This is the propaganda and worldview that you willingly purchase, Nardz, when you repeat and repost this sort of crap.

      1. It’s hilarious watching jeffster bury his head in the sand and let his fat ass do the talking. You should go on tour sell tickets.

        1. No no I get it. Nardz’ story is “fake but accurate”, right?

          1. Like every story you’ve pushed the last 5 years?

            1. Glass houses.
              You basically exist here to badly summarize articles from the Federalist, Breitbart, and freedumbeaglepatriotblog.net.

              1. Hey, asshole! Still waiting for that one (1) cite of Ken lying!
                Gee, maybe shit-for-brains here was too stupid to separate reality from his fantasies?
                What is it, asshole? Stupid? Dishonest? Both?

                1. DOL is a legit sociopath.

                  1. Cluster B

              2. Lol. If it isnt mr Raytheon builds the JSF, Iraq bounties, Trump russia, Lafayette Park assault, 3 dead cops on jan 6th, and every other media narrative the left has pushed the last 5 years.

                God damn son. At least try not to be a caricature.

              3. Btw, hilarious you couldn’t actually summarize false narratives i have pushed while I can name many of yours.

              4. It’s neat how DOL lists his fifty-center tactics, ascribes them to Jesse, and thinks no one will notice.

                What a dishonest piece of shit that valor-stealing, fake special forces, piece of shit is.

        2. Wingnuts have to build false narratives because they don’t like facts. Trump is the epitome of false narratives.

          i.e. – for weeks conservatives have been screaming about inflation! they want to depict ol’ Joe as Jimmy Carter redone. They use the brief spike in gas prices (due to the Colonial shutdown and summer demand) and lumber prices as evidence.

          But wait!

          Lumber Prices Post Biggest–Ever Weekly Drop With Buyers Balking
          By Marcy Nicholson
          June 11, 2021, 5:01 PM EDT Updated on June 12, 2021, 8:00 AM EDT
          U.S. lumber futures have slid 40% from last month’s record
          ‘There was plenty of lumber available from the mills’

          Something has gone wrong with their inflation narrative (basically there is little evidence for it).

          Some prices are bouncing post pandemic but the evidence in interest rates says veryvery mild inflation like 1% annually.

          but wingnuts have to wingnut.

          1. Fuck off and die, turd. Make your family proud.

          2. I’m glad you wrote this pile, Jeff. Because with even left-wing economists predicting high inflation this summer, I can show you this come November and you won’t be able to duck it.

      2. “This guy is obviously selling fear in order to push a narrative.”

        Unlike BLM, antifa, climate activists, voting rights activists, social justice activists, anti-capitalists, speech restriction promoters, tech trust busters, pro (and anti) immigrant activists, all political parties, government officials, and you.

        1. Jeffy’s not a leftist, but he doesn’t mind when leftists use fear. Weird, right?

      3. Well said.

      4. “At some point I think we have to conclude that people like Nardz WANT his opponents to be cartoon caricatures of evil, so as to justify his own existence.”

        I believe it’s called dehumanizing the enemy.

        1. “Dehumanizing the enemy involves denying the enemy’s humanity by negating in the enemy the characteristics normally associated with human beings, such as morality and compassion, and instead associating the enemy with acts of evil and depravity that merit forceful action and retaliation.”

          1. You mean like calling everyone who disagrees with you a trump cultist? You’d never be guilty of that.

            1. Sarc’s a hypocrite.

              1. Sarc’s a drunken liar.

          2. Show us you muted list again.

        2. I believe it’s called dehumanizing the enemy.

          Absolutely. That is how Nardz can come here on a daily basis and advocate for mass murder with a clean conscience. Because in his mind the people he would be murdering aren’t really people at all. The prelude to every mass murder in history is the dehumanization of the victims. Native Americans weren’t really people, they were “savages”, and so it was okay to kill them and take their land. Ukrainians weren’t really people, they were mere kulaks, so it was okay to kill them and take their food. (Lenin famously called them “bloodsuckers and vampires”.) And of course the Jews were not people as far as the Nazis were concerned.

          So whenever you read an article that casts your opponents as cartoon villains, it is almost certainly false and an act of demagoguery meant to manipulate you, not to inform you. There are some genuinely evil people out there, like Dahmer or McVeigh, but they are fortunately rare. If we had a public that broadly understood this and rejected such portrayals as manipulative and deceitful we would have a much better media landscape. Unfortunately there are just too many people like Nardz here who demand a daily fix of dehumanization in order to make it through the day, and grifters and scoundrels are more than willing to make a buck delivering that fix to the Nardzes of the world rather than act responsibly.

          1. Also, well said.

      5. So you are literally ignoring what has happened in large parts of the US and all over Canada and Europe over the last year and a half?

        1. Yes, because he agreed with the lockdowns.

          1. But to point out the bad things the left is doing (right fucking now, not a century ago) is just dehumanizing them…

        2. Do you think Big Business wants to impose lockdowns on you in the name of the climate?

          Do you think “the left” believes humanity itself is a disease that needs to be wiped out?

          Because these are the main arguments that Nardz is supporting here.

          1. “believes humanity itself is a disease that needs to be wiped out”

            There are many people who really do believe that and if you don’t know that you need to hit the books a little harder.

  9. CDC claimed to a Florida judge that they had power to implement any law or regulation they wanted until transmission rates were zero.

    When pressed on what level of transmission would require agency action, Powell said the agency has broad authority from Congress to prevent the interstate and international transmission of disease, and there’s a need for “enforceable public health measures.” Legally, the agency has the power to try to reduce transmission to zero, even if that may not be practical in the coronavirus’ immediate future, she said.

    Percival, for the state of Florida, pounced on that statement.

    If that’s true, “it’s unclear what they cannot do,” he said. “They can bar your doors. … That is an astronomical power.”

    1. No surprise, Republicans pounced.

      1. They’re like kittens with string, really.

  10. This was known back in the 90s, when I sold the Safariland Kits (among many, many other products) to local law enforcement and agencies. Nothing new here, the public still doesn’t care – and may in fact prefer this outcome.

    1. You are quite correct…. the pubic and policy makers do not care. There is so much hang wringing over “justice” but a cut and dry issue like this the crickets come out. I am actually puzzled, since this sort of thing would seem to rile the “social justice”crowd that I disagree with on a lot of other issues

      1. They have too many talking points as it is. And these guys are convicted criminals so they’re far down the priority list.

    1. He’s almost as bad as your hero Trump.

      1. Oh? What did Trump do that was similar? Mean tweets?

        1. Fuck off lying bigot.

          1. You’re the Jew-hating, anti black race baiter, not me, you racist piece of shit.

    2. Joe still believes in Russian collusion. Do they expect him to perform miracles? He’s only had 120 days and 47years.

  11. I actually found this hilarious. These drug tests are about as accurate as a breathalyzer, but, the Court accepts the breathalyzer. Could this whole thing possibly be that the majority of people arrested for drugs are minorities, while DUI is primarily a “white” crime? Look I’m all in favor making this fair and accurate, but, it needs to be across the board. All I’m hearing is “drugs” and “minorities”.

    1. Not only do they accept the breathalyzer besides its huge documented flaws, many jurisdictions bar defendents from mentioning the reliability issue in courts.

      1. In some areas you no longer have the right to a blood test to determine your BLOOD alcohol level. All you get is the breathalyzer. Level playing field for ALL is all I want.

      2. How is that even legal or constitutional?

        1. Fuck you, that’s how.

  12. Thanks for sharing such wonderful stuff. Keep sharing and keep up the good work.
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  13. A Florida man was wrongfully jailed in 2017 after a field test confused his donut glaze with meth. A 2018 drug seizure in North Carolina originally touted as “$2 million worth of ‘the deadly opioid fentanyl'” turned out to be white sugar…………CLICK HERE.

  14. Wait, Reason has an article against the pharmaceutical industry? Am I in a different universe now?

    1. Drug test kits are not part of the pharma industry.

  15. Biden is about to sign a bill to make Pulse Nightclub a permanent national narrative.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/biden-bill-pulse-nightclub-national-memorial

    Pulse was not targeted for being a gay club. It was targeted because Disneyland had too much security and it was the first hit on an “Orlando clubs” google search. There have been multiple books on this as well as a court case… yet the left continues to prefer narrative over fact.

    1. Then I will check it off my list of tourist visits next time in Orlando. I really never gave a shit anyway. Why do you?

      1. Fuck off and die turd; give your dog a place to shit.

      2. We know you don’t give a shit about false narratives. You constantly push them.

      3. We know you’re perfectly happy to pretend that there were no terrorist at racks under Obama, you disingenuous fuck.

    2. “We prefer truth over facts.”

    3. “… because Disneyland had too much security…”

      That, and it was 2500 miles away.

    4. First choice was a mall, not Disney.

  16. The Feds don’t need a test or even a conviction to hold someone in solitary confinement. Just a video of you trespassing on federal property.

    1. No, you get shot in the face for that.

  17. I’m wondering if drugs being smuggled in on paper is a legit concern or an excuse to ban books. Probably something that happened once, but that’s enough to give them an excuse.

  18. If inmates in a prison can’t be prevented from obtaining and using drugs, then how do drug warriors propose to stop users out here in the “free” world, even if a police state was imposed? They know they can’t, but will retreat to the “but if it saves just one young person’s life, the WOD is worth it.”

  19. Real problem. Prison stall ALLOWING drugs in.

    Planting evidence.

  20. So the entrenched looter Kleptocracy–in addition to robbing and murdering rights-respecting citizens–also resorts to pseudoscience to frame them with rigged testing?
    Is this any different from the phrenology testing other National Socialist governments made use of in order to separate volk from jew and deny rights to the latter?

        1. Magic 8 ball says…..

  21. “CARBIS BAY, England—Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies called on China to respect human rights but stopped short of an outright condemnation of Beijing, as President Biden sought to build momentum for an international coalition to counter Chinese influence in the world.

    A 25-page joint statement released by leaders of the G-7 nations on Sunday—covering issues ranging from pandemic recovery to the global economy, tax, trade and girls’ education—asked China “to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/g-7-leaders-set-to-wrap-summit-laying-out-wide-ranging-goals-11623582570?

    Signaling is extremely important to progressives, but cancel culture is especially empty and stupid when applied to foreign policy. Progressives don’t care if their policies have any positive effects. They’ve signaled, and that’s important to them for some reason. Watch for Biden to signal his disapproval of Putin tomorrow, but don’t hold your breath for the real world to change in any way because of it.

    Apart from signaling, is Biden doing anything with the G-7, China, or Russia to pursue American interests? Or is the whole point of Biden’s world tour to promote himself as the progressive Signaler-in-chief? Who will be better off in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, or the USA because of Biden’s signaling? How will their situation or our situation improve because of Biden’s signaling?

    1. He is a worthless, demented, crooked old man.

    2. “Signaling is extremely important to progressives…”

      Conservatives, on the other hand, never signal their beliefs or virtues. They never wear MAGA hats or fly a Trump flag or put a NRA sticker on their car or mention what church they attend in the first two minutes of a conversation…

      1. In my experience, conservatives are much less likely to think that signaling is all that is needed to make real changes.

    3. It’s possible that Biden’s position may improve in signaling circles.

  22. Magic 8 ball says…..

  23. This is story is useful in giving details about a particular aspect of the corruption and suffeering involved with drug prohibitition. Still, it would have been more useful if the article could have positioned this story in the context that most people in prison are there on drug related charges, and that the private prison system makes huge profits for its investors. So, overall this is just one apsect of a horrific system and not even the worst. And, the reason that this one aspect exists is because drug prohibitition overall does not work and only increases the chances that those in criminal justice will be abusive to those that fall into their web, among many bad outcomes.

    The solution is both simple and also close to impossible: for the USA to begin to reverse its prohibition drug policies. This is because drug prohibition does nothing to decrease overall drug consumption, cause OD death (via an unsafe drug supply, something even hinted at in this article but that exists on a much bigger scale in the larger public), causes the growth of crime syndicates (as we saw in the 1920s area of alcohol prohibition and what we know is destroying Mexico at this very moment), and also crime, suffering, and death caused by crime syndicates.

    So, the choice is simple and not simple: choose to scale back prohibition and save the USA from this horrible fate, or to continue down this destructive path, making new excuse after new excuse of how prohibition will finally start to work if it is harsher, which will only lead to a new cycle of suffering and death.

  24. The health of inmates is something that should be taken seriously. Highlighting such stories help to curb these issues. I recommend more research to be done so that the vise can be tamed. After writing your paper be sure to share for a wider reach.

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