Monday, December 25, 2006

Law: Is EtG testing the Answer?

During my research for a defense against allegations from SCRAM, I stumbled across a toxicology test that would be the perfect defense. Ethyl glucuronide, also known as EtG, a metabolite that is produced during the metabolism of alcohol. The study I found was on a hair testing procedure(Dr.Groppi), and the claims of the longevity, three weeks, far exceeds the time it takes them to notify a defendant. The problems however, were that the hair test hadn't reached the U.S. and it would take a significant amount of consumption to be able to be detected in the long term, hence another defense rendered useless.
The metabolite is detected in urine and this test has been used in the States for a brief period of time. Much like any other science in its' infancy, the reliability is in question, and the cries of false-positive deafened by the propaganda that surrounds it. Claims such as:
" Other biomarkers of alcohol use can be problematic since they can be influenced by age, gender, a variety of other substances and non-alcohol-associated disease. Fermentation may lead to false positives for alcohol since glucose and yeast may be present in the urine. This is especially possible if a urine sample is stored or shipped without refrigeration in warm weather. Since EtG is only created during the metabolism of alcohol, there is no potential for a wrong result due to external contamination. (1)" have not detoured the legal or medical community from using the test, but further exposes endogenous alcohol as becoming a factor in modern scientific alcohol testing methods.
In light of recent contacts, I have found that this very test may just be vulnerable to outside influence as well. At first skeptical, then the thought of painting can create erroneous reads on a PBT, alcohol emits transdermally, we have all heard of the nicotine patch, it was definately worth researching. The contact informed me of a forum (2), supposedly created by Dr. Skipper, who brought the test to the States, and is now addressing the issues. In the forum I found the Dr. saying," People who rely blindly on lab tests are inviting disaster.",(understatement of the year) but the test was propelled into the legal and medical community saying it is an absolute biomarker of alcohol consumption. The forum is headed "This egroup was developed as a forum to discuss EtG testing, benefits, risks, sensitivity, specificity, pros, and cons, and so forth."

I say," RISKS, SENSITIVITY, SPECIFICITY and CONS should be addressed before launching the program, and Rule 702 is the open door that invites disaster!

Another display of for-profit companies in our courts, however, this test is being used to detect alcohol use in licensees who have signed abstinence agreements. A host of professionals are losing their livelihood for what this Doctor quotes,"...we are advising Medical Review Officers that "incidental exposure" to alcohol can cause low level positives in some individuals. We still haven't clearly characterized the validity or possible source, if valid, of "false positive" EtG tests, except as mentioned, (testing for EtG utilizes LC/MS/MS technology which is highly specific) we know that "incidental exposure" to ethanol can cause weakly positive tests (<500ng/ml),> probably don't result in any significant alcohol exposure if used according to directions. The incidental exposure that appears to rarely cause weak positive EtG tests in some individuals are foods with significant alcohol, hygiene products like mouthwash with higher concentrations of alcohol, and OTC meds high in alcohol...(3)"
Using opinionated and obfuscating words, then proceeds to cite there has been no proof of a false-positive.....then why the memo? They are referring to them as "innocent positives", a sugar coating that obfuscates reliability (hence false or innocent), and only lightens the severity of the problem and its consequences. The term innocent almost makes the people advocating the science seem wholesome and good, when in reality they are willing to jeopardize ones liberty and well being (not to mention the host of repercussions false-positives create) for -the almighty dollar! The thing that really has me wondering is that this test is notorious for false-negatives, EtG is masked naturally, how can this be the better alternative(4)? So now back to Rule 702- the judge acts as the gatekeeper, that is he/she decides the reliability of the scientific evidence being submitted, taking into account the known or potential rate of error- What is the known or potential rate of error?
I admire the Dr. himself is addressing the issues. Problem is, they're using the test and as it seems right now, as I am limited in research, there is an unknown rate of error. This unknown costs people a great deal of anguish, bereavement and purloins one of the ingredients of a good life, and results are ,more often than one could assume, relapse, violent crime, stealing, and/or suicide. These are just some of the repercussions of false-positive, nothing innocent about it!
I hope the integrity of the investigation doesn't fade, and a solution is easily resolved, I am counting on it for it is the best defense against SCRAM, should we ever get the legal community to use it in a Constitutional manner. Dr. Skipper cites the testee should be warned to stay away from products with alcohol---so a truck driver (DOT) has to stay away from gas, a nurse has to stay away from a disinfectant, sometimes, a peaceful revolution is not an oxy-moron, othertimes "we the people" need to display our outrage as they continue to "sweep it under the carpet" and proceed! My report on endogenous was to show it is not a myth, when external contaminents cause reads, cease and desist is the only way justice can be fully acheived!
Maybe this is why our forefathers granted "The Right to be Presumed Innocent" and "The Right to Privacy" for without corroborating evidence, the test is just a map, the map is not the territory. Without the invasion, the innocent would not be convicted!

REFERENCE:
(1) http://www.firstlab.com/services9.asp
(2) http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ethylglucuronide/
(3) http://ethylglucuronide.homestead.com/BoardLetterReEtGTesting.pdf
(4) http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/

8 Comments:

Blogger Isanah said...

Wow, thank you for sharing your great insight about the risks and benefits of the use of EtG testing! No doubt this test serves a purpose, but as you noted the test must first be valid and realiable in detecting intentional alcohol consumption as opposed to incidental alcohol exposure. As your blog has addressed, alcohol exposure is prevalent in our environment through dietary sources, skin contact, and inhalation. Additionally, we do know some people have been proven to be "hyperproducers" of EtG to their everyday exposure to small amounts of alcohol! Further research in developing proper cut off levels and associated clinical use guidelines are needed for the continued use of EtG testing within professional monitoring boards and/or courts.

1:57 AM  
Blogger marcellus91872 said...

Insight? This is a mirror of easily obtained information, information I have passed on to some of my more liberal media contacts, but as more develops, more being unbias research, I will then be able to elaborate insight! Does anyone wonder, if the professional communities, especially the legal community, are really out to help individuals and ensure public safety from, why would they use a test that is notorious for false-negatives$$?

2:27 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Come on It's all about the almighty $$ the supposed practice of "treatment" comes down to do you have insurance that will pay and for how long? It's a joke!! EtG is a money maker.

I recently heard thaat drug companies are not looking for a cure for cancer they are looking for a way for it to become a lifelong managable disease. See the connection $$$$$$

10:33 PM  
Blogger marcellus91872 said...

That isn't new news, American doctors continue to prescribe medications that only mask the symptoms of an actual problem, they do nothing to cure anything-
Who was the last high level politician to die from:
AIDS
Cancer
In my opinion, a degree in medicine is more a front to steal from the common man, the same man that can't afford health insurance.
Take a look at the countries with the least amount of cancer patients and ration it with smokers per capita- yet the Government can tell a business owner that he can't smoke in his own establishment that he pays an incredible amount of taxes on, for health reasons-
Much like EtG, SCRAM etc...
Control, make everything a crime (including mopping a floor) and cash in on guilt$$$$$!

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey skipper has closed down the site or so it seems...what do we all do now???not like he was so helpful to begin with...what other sites ect can help us???

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not believe all of this I am reading. I am in a legal system that uses this and have tested positive for alcohol before due to the use of ETG!

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, if you are serious about fighting the scram injustice as read in all these blogs, please write me (i am not a lawyer) at fightscraminjustice@gmail.com.

Please give your history while wearing your scram bracelet, along with any incidental information that might be helpful.

We cannot win alone, but in numbers we can. With you in this fight against injustice.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have become a victom of the false/positives with an ETG. I have severe allergies and take five prescription drugs for them.
Two inhalers, Advair and Pro Air,Singulair,Flonase Nasal Spray, and Clotrimazole. I have been doing two in home breathalyzer tests daily for five months. I was very sick one week and fell asleep, and slept through my 7-9 pm window to do my evening breathylyzer. I realized this at one am in the morning, when I woke up to use the bathroom. I then did my test and passed, I also did my 6 am one and passed. I knew I had still violated my probation, I asked to have an ETG done knowing that I had not drank any alcohol for months. I was thrilled when my probation officer said OK, thinking that this would exonerate me. Four days later I got a call from my P.O., saying that the ETG came back positive for alcohol. After spending many hours trying to figure how this happened, I finally found out that one of my inhalers contains alcohol and also so does the Flonase. Flonase is actually listed on a website for recovering alcholics, as something not to use especially if you are taking antibuse. I would never have known any of this without researching this myself. The ingredients listed on these scripts were foreign to me. I still have to go to court to fight this. Just beware of some of your prescriptions, as most people are not advised to check them.

5:19 PM  

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