A viral Facebook post proved misleading and confusing fairly than informative.

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Published9 September 2019

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Rider Freese ultimately deleted the write-up in question, however she later confirmed its authenticity with a 2nd post in which she described that she had taken that down because its viral spread had caused she to be inundated with friend requests and also messages. Although the original short article was deleted, society media users have continued to re-publishing a screenshot that it, meaning its claims continued to it is in promulgated.

The insurance claims were inaccurate and misleading in several ways, but they did suggest (whether intentional or not) to a flaw in part substance-testing field kits that have caused innocuous substances to erroneously test hopeful for drugs such together methamphetamines.

Experts told us that a false confident of this kind could, in principle, be developed in certain tests the a sample of Red Bull or other energy drinks, or a pee sample taken from a human who had consumed the beverages. However, we discovered no evidence of an actual pattern of such false hopeful test results.


The first point to clarify is that neither Red Bull no one Bang nor any type of other power drink consists of methamphetamine, buprenorphine (often offered as suboxone), oxycodone (often offered as OxyContin), or MDMA (commonly well-known as ecstasy or X). What the picture alluded come (whether knowingly or unknowingly) was the phenomenon of false positives, in i beg your pardon a medicine test incorrectly shows the presence of a substance that is no present, either in a organic specimen (usually urine and blood) or a sample of the problem in question. The ingredient of both Red Bull and Bang deserve to be found provided here. 

Despite rider Freese’s case that the energy-drink samples tested confident for various drugs, it’s not clear that the urine test cup in the 2nd photograph illustrates any kind of such optimistic tests. The check strips on urine screen-test cups, such as the one displayed in the photograph, invariably suggest a an unfavorable result where two horizontal red bars room visible. The only plainly visible test strips in driver Freese’s photograph show horizontal, dual red lines, suggesting negative results for unidentified substances. 

The 2nd misleading feature of the picture is that Rider Freese claimed she offered a urine display test to screen for methamphetamine, buprenorphine, and also oxycodone in a sample the Red Bull. This makes small sense, because that kind of check is offered to display for illegal substances in a person’s urine, no in a beverage. 

Testing substances, rather than organic specimens, is excellent via a “presumptive substance test.” The common use of such a test would be where police discovered a flour in someone’s car, which castle suspected could be a prohibition substance favor cocaine or heroin, for this reason they one of two people send a sample that the problem for activities testing, or command a ar test themselves.

Typically, law-enforcement agents usage a kind of substance testing called colorimetric testing, i m sorry involves adding a small sample of the questionable substance to a liquid solution, and inducing certain chemical reactions that cause particular changes in the color of the solution. The visibility or absence of those color alters indicates the possible presence or absence of the substance being tested.

The following is a helpful and reasonably straightforward video guide come presumptive colorimetric drug field tests, produced by Florida international University’s (FIU) national Forensic Science technology Center:


These ar tests are imperfect and also can sometimes create false positives. However, the preliminary or “presumptive” result they create is frequently enough to provide a law-enforcement certified dealer probable cause to do an arrest. ~ that, samples are frequently sent come a activities for “confirmatory” testing, which either confirms the early result, or shows that the initial an outcome was a false positive. 

Many exclusive companies design various kinds of field-test kits and also sell them to law-enforcement agencies throughout the united States. Those kits vary in your reliability, specificity, and sensitivity, and also a pattern of false positives has arised in recent years, with various innocuous family members substances showing up as illegal drugs. For example, the Marijuana policy Project has actually documented instances in which chocolate tested confident for hashish, flour tested positive for cocaine, and soap tested positive for gamma-Hydroxybutyric mountain (GHB), which is provided recreationally and also as a day rape drug. 

In 2017, Georgia mrs Dasha Fincher to be arrested and imprisoned for 3 months, awaiting confirmatory test results, after ~ police performed a field test ~ above a substance that produced a false hopeful for methamphetamine but was in truth cotton candy.

In principle, it’s feasible that a sample that Red Bull, Bang, or some other energy drink could produce a false hopeful for among the drugs stated in the July 2019 meme. However, we found no proof of one actual pattern of Red Bull or Bang creating such false positives, which considerably undermines the case that Red Bull “pops” for methamphetamine and Bang “pops” because that ecstasy. 

It should additionally be detailed once again that Rider Freese check to assistance her claims with photographic proof of a urine test cup, which is a different test and simply would not be supplied to test a sample that a beverage (or any kind of other substance) as opposed come a urine sample. Moreover, that photograph did not clearly show a optimistic test for any substance.

It’s feasible but unlikely that a to pee sample provided by someone that drank a can of power drink can test optimistic for methamphetamine or other drugs. Also if it did, that would just be the result of a false positive, simply as in the case of problem testing.

Kirk Grates, chemistry research task manager at FIU’s National Forensic Science an innovation Center, said tasiilaq.net: “… There might be some analytes that are included within these abovementioned energy drinks that might possibly cause a false positive.”

Certain unauthorized items have been known to cause false positives for assorted drugs in people who consume them before providing a to pee sample. For example, the over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) ibuprofen has actually caused pee samples to give false positives because that phencyclidine (PCP), and other NSAIDs have noted false positives because that marijuana. The urine of people who usage a Vick’s inhaler has actually been recognized to administer a false optimistic for methamphetamine. 

In principle, it’s possible that specific ingredients in Red Bull, Bang, or other power drinks might create false positives because that the drugs provided in driver Freese’s meme, however we uncovered no proof of an actual pattern to this effect. The photographs posted by rider Freese did not constitute proof of a positive an outcome for any substance, and, anyway, she declared to have used a urine screen test cup to test a sample that Red Bull itself, rather than the to pee of an individual who had actually consumed the drink.

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On the whole, we found no proof to support the particular claims do in the meme, which was in any case express in confusing and also misleading terms. However, the meme may have alluded (whether knowingly or unknowingly) come the possibility that the power drinks in question, like other innocuous products, could in theory produce false-positive test outcomes for the drugs noted in the meme, either through substance or to pee testing. 

As such, we worry a rating of “Mostly False.” 

Published9 September 2019

Kelly, John. “False Positives equal False Justice.” The Marijuana plan Project. 2008.