Why do Scott Company tests look so much different from the competition? 

Short Answer: We choose do the same thing they can with fewer steps because it's cheaper to produce, which means we can sell it for less. 

We use this same approach in all of our tests, but let's use our single-vial Cocaine Test as the easiest example to demonstrate. 



Question #1: What's in the single vial?  

Answer: Simplified Scott Reagent - the industry-standard cobalt-thiocyanate (Scott) reagent. our is called "Simplified" reagent because it was designed to be used with one vial instead of part of a three-vial process. 

Question #2: What does it actually do? 

The Simplified Scott Reagent turns from a bring pink color to a bright blue color when it comes in contact with cocaine HCL. Generally, the cocaine/crack particles themselves turn blue, rather than the entire mixture. 

This is the important part: 

This is the ONLY stage wherein the chemical reaction required to produce an actual color change occurs. This is THE key to establish the probable cause necessary to make the arrest.

For a longer, more technical answer, keep on reading below the picture. 

Long Technical Answer 

This is a simple question with a long answer. We'll start with our average competitor's Cocaine Test.

Their test has three vials you have to break in a specific order. To better understand them, let's look at each one, and when they do, one by one.

Competitor Vial #1 

Question #1: What's in it?  

Answer: Modified Scott Reagent (the industry-standard cobalt-thiocyanate (Scott) reagent.

Question #2: What does it actually do? 

The Scott Reagent turns from a bring pink color to a bright blue color when it comes in contact with cocaine HCL. Our competition calls it the "modified" reagent because when crack and freebase cocaine came about they wouldn't dissolve in the original reagent. Mild solvents have been added to the reagent to eliminate this. (They are in ours as well.) This was (and is) a necessity to be able to field test different types of cocaine (powder, rock, salt, base, etc.) Generally, the cocaine/crack particles themselves turn blue, rather than the entire mixture. 

This is the important part: 

This is the ONLY stage wherein the chemical reaction required to produce an actual color change occurs. This is THE key to establish the probable cause necessary to make the arrest. 

This is where we stop, and they add more steps. 


Competitor Vial #2

Question #1: What's in it?

Answer: Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)

Question #2: What does it actually do? 

Once the HCL is released into the (Modified) Scott Reagent and (suspected) cocaine mixture, it primarily changes the pH (acidity) of the mixture and breaks up any clumps into tiny individual particles. Unless you're looking carefully, it will likely appear that the easily visible blue particles go away and is replaced by a pink liquid again. 

Does this actually help establish the suspected substance is likely cocaine? 

No, but it looks cool, and makes the user (and the agency) feel like they're doing more than they actually are. 

Think of it this way: It's not unlike having to add eggs and/or oil to cake or brownie batter mixes. The manufacturers of these mixes know that they can produce a mix that ONLY requires water, and give you the exact same end result, but nobody will buy it because it's too easy. They have to make it at least slightly more involved or nobody will think it'll taste good when they're done. 


Competitor Vial #3

Question #1: What's in it? 

Answer: Chloroform (CHCl3)

Question #2: What does it actually do? 

Once chloroform is released into the mixture containing the (Modified) Scott Reagent, the (suspected) cocaine mixture, the HCL (and the bits of broken glass), the chloroform simply gathers up all of the blue cocaine particles and pulls them to the bottom of the mixture, creating a layer.   Chloroform is denser than HCL, and it sinks underneath like like water sinks under oil, trapping all of the blue particles under the pink layer of HCL and Scott Reagent slush. Again.....

Does this actually help establish the suspected substance is likely cocaine?

No, but again, it looks cool, and makes the user (and the agency) feel like they're doing more than they actually are. You could shove peanut butter in that test, crack all three vials, and it would make a layer - albeit a different colored one. 



Pictured:

The A-1 Scott Company Simplified 
Cocaine /Crack Test  

Shown:

An actual sample of lab-verified cocaine HCL showing a clear positive result.

Credit:

Drug provided courtesy of the Wisconsin Narcotics Officer's Association, 2015.
Please contact us if you have any additional questions. Thank you for reading!