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PBT Detecting Huffing?

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  • PBT Detecting Huffing?

    As a probation officer, while out in the field, I visited the residence of one of my huffers. I gave him a PBT, and the numbers rocketed up to a .116 BAC.

    Now, given the job that I have, I have developed a superhuman ability to smell miniscule amounts of alcohol on someone's breath (not uncommonly below a .01). However, I didn't smell the slightest amount of alcohol on him. There was no alcohol in his refridgerator, and no where else that I could find.

    My question is this: if he had been huffing prior to me getting to his place, is it possible that the PBT was registering the chemicals on his breath just as it would alcohol?

    I know we've been trained that if someone has recently cleaned a kitchen or something, they can have a false positive on a PBT, which is easily checked by taking them outside, or into a different room. I have experience this, but only a very small degree - never a massive amount like .116.

    Any thoughts?
    "You can just go ahead and common sense your way out of this conundrum!"

  • #2
    Originally posted by GentleGiant View Post
    My question is this: if he had been huffing prior to me getting to his place, is it possible that the PBT was registering the chemicals on his breath just as it would alcohol?
    I'd call the PBT manufacturer. They should know what their sensor will pick up.

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    • #3
      It will pick up on mouthwash if it was used within 15 minutes of blowing.

      Keep in mind, high shelf vodka usually doesn't show up in your breath (and is therefore a favorite of functional alcoholics). Smirnoff's old motto was "Take your breath away".

      edit: I mean it won't show up in your breath's smell. It will show up on the PBT. I realized I said that wrong....
      Last edited by jakflak; 09-04-2008, 12:12 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jakflak View Post
        Keep in mind, high shelf vodka usually doesn't show up in your breath (and is therefore a favorite of functional alcoholics). Smirnoff's old motto was "Take your breath away".
        Did you just put high shelf vodka and Smirnoff in the same sentence??

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        • #5
          There are different types of industrial alcohols that are probably used in huffing products. PBTs are designed to detect ETOH molecules regardless of where they come from (ie, a person's mouth). They may not have an odor or the fact that they are dispensed under cold pressure might undermine any trace alchol odor. Read the labels and check or contact the manufacturer.
          Well first, life dealt you a bad hand, then you decided to double down.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rook21 View Post
            Did you just put high shelf vodka and Smirnoff in the same sentence??
            I have 6 kids. I consider buying Smirnoffs "splurging".

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            • #7
              Schnopps comes in many flavors that dont give off "the odor of an alcoholic beverage". Flavors such as mint, butterschoch, fireball ect....

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