‘Large number’ of Drug Court participants test positive for Spice

A “large number” of participants in the 1st District Drug Court have tested positive for smoking “Spice,” a legal, but potentially harmful substance that gives a high similar to marijuana.News of many drug court participants testing positive for smoking the substance comes on the heels of the Bear River Health Department obtaining the ability to conduct a test for Spice use for the first time. Recently, the Health Department discovered that a lab they contract with in California could conduct a test to discover whether an individual had been using Spice. When that happened, Public Information Officer Jill Parker said, all Drug Court participants were called in for random testing. As of Thursday morning, Parker said she didn’t have an exact figure of the number of Drug Court participants who tested positive, but said it was much higher than anyone expected.”A large percentage of them tested positive,” she said. In Drug Court, participants are ordered to not use any illicit or mind-altering substances, whether they are legal or not.Cache County Attorney James Swink said it is sad that so many Drug Court participants tested positive and thought that they could use a substance that wouldn’t be detected by drug tests.”People who are in Drug Court have addictions,” Swink said, noting that a positive drug test for using Spice would be treated as a violation of the terms of an individuals Drug Court agreement in the same way testing positive for any other substance would.Swink said his office and the courts would continue working with participants, hoping to get them to the point where if there were a new drug out there, they would choose not to use it.”That’s the hope with every drug court participant,” he said.Swink said Spice use is alarming because he recently spoke with the emergency room director at the Logan Regional Hospital and was told that the hospital has seen more than 200 incidences of Spice-related health problems.”That is higher than any other controlled substance or illicit drug combined,” Swink said.That’s a large part of the reason the Cache County Attorney’s Office and valley law enforcement agencies are petitioning the Cache County Council to pass an ordinance outlawing the sale and use of Spice. A proposal was presented to the council this week, and will be up for a public hearing in future weeks.Swink said he is optimistic the County Council will react positively to the creation of an ordinance.

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