Drug misuse continues to be a significant problem and one that can threaten the safety of both users and others under certain conditions. This is why there are laws about driving under the influence and rules for drug-free workplaces. Scientists in the UK and the Netherlands have just released a new fingerprint drug testing method that will make it simpler and quicker to detect the presence of cocaine and a few other drugs in a person’s system.

New Fingerprint Test Can Quickly Detect the Presence of Drugs

Scientists at Surrey University working in partnership with Intelligent Fingerprinting and the Netherlands Forensic Institute have developed a new type of fingerprint drug test. This test can currently detect the presence of cocaine, but may soon be used for detection of other drugs.

It works by detecting metabolites through a method referred to as “paper spray mass spectrometry.” Cocaine consists of molecules that have a unique mass, so the test will isolate these as the body processes and excretes them, giving a positive result if they are present.

Specifically, a test subject is asked to provide a fingerprint on a small piece of paper. That item is then placed on a mass spectrometer, which measures different atoms and molecules. A researcher will then pour solvent on the paper, creating a small electrical charge. This releases molecules into the analyzing and testing machine. If a person has used cocaine, the test will be positive even if the person washes his or her hands prior to taking the test.

In testing, the team used the new fingerprint technology on 39 test subjects, some who did not use cocaine and some who were known users. The results of the tests were 99 percent accurate, and test samples only take about 30 seconds to be analyzed.

Hands holding a baggie of drugs

The new fingerprint test can identify cocaine abuse and help people seek early treatment.

How Could This New Fingerprint Test Be Used?

The new fingerprint drug test is a much quicker and less invasive test than traditional tests for cocaine. In the past, it could take a lab several days or more to return test results. Current tests are also more invasive because they involve taking samples of urine, blood, saliva, or hair. Some of these are biological hazards, and they also require special storage and disposal processes.

The new test could be used in a variety of settings. This includes legal situations, drug testing in the workplace, hospitals, and drug treatment centers. It could also be employed when there is an urgent situation, such as an overdose, to help identify drugs for treatment. The developers have added a fingerprint ID step to this test so that an agency administering the test can verify the identity of the test subject.

Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction

Whether you are routinely tested for drugs or not, using cocaine can be a dangerous game. Cocaine overdose and other serious medical complications are responsible for more than 500,000 emergency room visits annually. Roughly 7,000 overdose deaths in 2015 alone were tied to cocaine use.

Even if you have only used cocaine a few times, your life and future could be in jeopardy. This is a drug that has the potential to kill with the first use. If you or any of your loved one have a substance use disorder, you can get qualified and comprehensive help at The Recovery Village.

Contact us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about our high-quality addiction treatment programs.

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