Monday, March 27, 2023

Drug Test Detects Cocaine From Fingerprints

In the journal Analyst, researchers have published a report about a new test that can help detect cocaine by using a fingerprint, which makes this a non-invasive test that can be used in a number of settings. This new test will be able to tell whether or not someone has touched cocaine or if the person actually ingested the cocaine, which has never been able to be tested before.


The University of Surrey and various researchers from other Universities in the UK came up with this test, which was done by using different types of a specific analytical chemistry technique, which is known as mass spectrometry. This technique was used to analyze the fingerprints of patients who were attending a drug treatment program. The prints were tested against saliva samples, which is one of the most common ways to test for drugs, and this was done to see whether both tests came up with the same results. The difference between this new fingerprint test and previous fingerprint tests that have been used was that previous tests could only tell whether someone had touched cocaine, and this is the first test to actually determine whether or not ingestion occurred.

Dr. Melanie Bailey, the lead author of the study, stated that “When someone has taken cocaine, they excrete traces of benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine as they metabolize the drug, and these chemical indicators are present in fingerprint residue.” Bailey went on to talk about how solvent was sprayed onto the fingerprint slide, which could determine whether or not the substances were present, and this type of process is used all of the time in forensic and criminal cases. This however was the first time this process, known as Desorption Electrospray Ionisation, has been used to determine whether or not someone was taking drugs.

The researchers think that this process could be used in a number of settings, including in places besides law enforcement offices or probation offices. You could use this type of testing to replace the need for blood tests and other types of testing where you need to have trained staff or outside laboratories to check the results. This new method does not require special training or off-site laboratories, since it is non-invasive, and this could lead to it being used in the workplace or other types of settings where drug use needs to be determined quickly. It is believed that law enforcement will start using this new type of testing within the next 10 years, especially as more companies are working on deploying these types of tests to a larger population.

While the researchers might believe that this type of testing is better because it is less invasive, this drug test will likely end up in the Supreme Court because the same laws will still apply as far as getting warrants to test for drug use in criminal cases. The deal with this new test is that it is being hyped as being better for privacy concerns, but there is still the rights of the person being tested that have to be protected as well, so you should expect to see this new test being challenged as far as the legality of it in the future.

Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.


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