Eleven random samples out of 42 taken from New Zealand workers in an un-named industry with critical safety requirements have tested positive for the synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of cannabis but are undetectable with standard drug testing methods.
Kirk Hardy of NZ Drug Detection Agency says he is awaiting results on 50 more samples to get a more accurate picture, but at the moment the hit rate for Kronic is more than two-and-a-half times that of all other compounds tested for combined.
Mr Hardy said that the random samples taken would usually produce positive results in around 10 percent of cases, instead of the 25 percent that tested positive for Kronic.
It was likley that workers are aware there were no facilities for testing for the synthetic substances within New Zealand at present.
Mr Hardy said “the tests provided real evidence that there were people in the workplace who were willing to put themselves and others at risk of being seriously hurt or killed from using these drugs.”
He said he “hoped to have testing facilities operating here in the next few months. That would also cut the cost of testing for employers dramatically.”
Currently the NZDDA offer a testing serice by couriering samples to the United States for testing.
Synthetic Cannabis like Kronic is not illegal in New Zealand at the moment, but being under its influence is a serious diciplinary issue in most workplaces and likely to result in dismissal.