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Did 85-year-old woman at Lancaster Co. SC assisted living test positive for ecstasy?

Police in Lancaster County are investigating why an 85-year-old woman who lives in assisted living tested positive last month for the drug ecstasy.

A second drug test, released Tuesday, came back negative for ecstasy, Lancaster County deputies said.

The woman, whose name has not been released, is a resident of Heath Springs Residential Care Center. The woman's daughter told police her mother "doesn't even know what ecstasy is" and had no idea how her mother could have come in contact with the drug.

Ecstasy is an illegal recreational drug mostly associated with young people. The drug, initially developed for psychiatric therapy, alters mood and perception, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception, according to the federal government National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The woman's daughter told police about the positive test for ecstasy June 21 after a urine test revealed the drug, a police report shows. The woman who tested positive had tried to harm herself and was tested by a doctor, a police report states.

Detectives are now working to see if the first test was a proper test, if there was a possible "false positive," or if errors might be the cause for the first positive test, said Doug Barfield, spokesman for the Lancaster County Sheriff's office.

'What we know right now is a second test came back negative after it was done by a lab this week," Barfield said. "We are going to find out if there was a positive test that was legitimate."

More testing is planned, Barfield said. That testing may include hair follicle testing and other tests, he said.

Kathy Mingus, executive director of the care center, said Tuesday that officials at the center also found out Tuesday that the second test was negative.

Mingus said officials at the center do not believe that the woman could have come in contact with the drug at the assisted living center. Officials at the assisted living center are "cooperating fully" with sheriff's office investigators, Mingus said.

"We do not feel this could happened at our facility and want to absolutely get to the bottom of it," Mingus said.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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