I was going over the latest PA Bulletin on the minimum detection levels for a case and I wanted to share some information about it because I often get calls on this topic. In summary, if a Schedule I, II, or III controlled substance is not on this list (attached) it isn’t admissible pursuant to 1547(c)(iv). Remember benzodiazepines are Schedule IV so they are not covered by this Bulletin.
There are a lot of controlled substances that my client allegedly consume that are not covered. Some of the more popular non-covered drugs are synthetic cannabinoids (marijuana) and synthetic cathinones (bath salts). The synthetic cannabinoids are too numerous to mention and new forms are coming out as quick as chemists can think of them. But too bad for the government. They are not listed so they don’t get in. One of the most popular synthetic cathinones I come across is Alpha-PVP. Again not listed so not admissible. One of the most popular drugs I see is buprenorphine (Suboxone) which is a Schedule III drug and its metabolite norbuprenorphine. As you can see from the attached bulletin no minimum level set by the Department of Health.
Another thing to look for are metabolites. As you can see Hydrocodone and its metabolite hydromorphone are listed. Oxycodone is listed but its metabolite oxymorphone isn’t. Why? Who knows but that is the government’s problem. The prosecutors I deal with always try to make metabolites look like another drug is in a person’s system and with that all of the negative implications that brings.