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25 Sep 2012

Positive Methamphetamine Urinalysis Caused By Vick’s Inhaler

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B.K.P. was charged with violating his Martin County community control due to a positive urinalysis for amphetamine and methamphetamine. Pursuant to the warrant, the defendant was taken into custody and held without bond. At that point, the defendant’s family retained Jeffrey H. Garland to look into the matter.

Attorney Garland initially determined that the assistance of a medical expert would be necessary. After conferring with the client and his family, arrangements were made to retain Dr. Stefan Rose, a forensic toxicologist.

Attorney Garland set out to discovery as much information as possible about the process of urinalysis and the possibility of either “false positives” or other circumstances which would explain the urinalysis results. The defense investigation established that the defendant, in fact, had a lawful prescription for Adderall which specifically contains amphetamine as its active ingredient. The defense investigation established that the defendant did promptly advise his community control officer of his legitimate and lawful prescription for Adderall when he was advised of the “dirty urine”.

The defendant was unaware at that time that methamphetamine was the active ingredient in the Vick’s inhaler which he would routinely use. He purchased the Vick’s inhaler over the counter and without a prescription. After reviewing these circumstances, Dr. Rose submitted a letter which concluded as follows:

    1. The positive urinalysis for amphetamine is explained by the defendant’s legal prescription for Adderall-XR; and
    2. The positive urinalysis for methamphetamine at 2106mg/ml is consistent with the defendant’s use of the Vick’s inhaler. Adults using the Vick’s inhaler have peak urine concentrations of methamphetamine within 24 hours of use of 1500 – 6000mg/ml. The finding of 2106mg/ml of urine methamphetamine is consistent with the use of a Vick’s inhaler as described in the literature.

Based on this evidence, the trial court set a reasonable bond subject to specific conditions. The defendant abided by all of these conditions until, several months later, his VOCC case was scheduled for final hearing in Stuart. Just before the final hearing was to be conducted, the State elected to dismiss the VOCC warrant.

State v. B.K.P., Martin County Case No. 05-CF-xxxx

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