Fingerprint Test For Cocaine

If you were using cocaine, Police can use your fingerprints to tell if you are positive for the drug in just seconds with new forensic tests that scientists in the Netherlands and the UK have developed.

Two different chemicals are produced by cocaine users as the drug is metabolised in their body and these chemicals are found in the sweat.

Researchers have created a unique kind of paper to take the fingerprints which are then used to uncover the metabolites with an accuracy of 99%. Even if you wash your hands it won’t stop detection.

Scientists at Surrey University developed the technique along with a private company Intelligent Fingerprinting and the Netherlands Forensic Institute. They believe that this technique can be used with other drugs.

The fingerprint test will allow police, prison officers etc. the ability to quickly tell if someone was using cocaine. This test is much faster than the ones available today.

This new fingerprint test is revolutionary for these workers and they can get results in real-time with a drug test that is non-invasive and will give definitive results in just a few minutes.

Researchers are already working on an even faster test that will have results in only 30-seconds.

The main benefits of the test are that it is hygienic, non-invasive and it can’t be faked. The sample itself captures the subject’s identity as well as the drug they were using.

Drug tests on the market today require the user to give urine, blood or saliva. These substances have to be properly stored and disposed of as they are potential bio-hazards.

The “paper spray mass spectrometry” technique is becoming more popular in forensics because it is very sensitive and the testing system is very simple to set up.

This fingerprint test is now being used for the first time to detect drugs and the results of the technique are 99% effective for identifying cocaine in patients.

Approximately 2.7 million people used illegal drugs in 2015/16 in the UK as per the National Statistics Office and this represents about 8% of the total population.

Almost 2,500 people died in 2015 from drug misuse, which is up by 10% from the year before.

The journal Clinical Chemistry published this research.

Photo Credit: “fingerprint” (CC BY 2.0) by gfairchild