As the war on drugs continues, the science community is partnering with law enforcement to develop more tools to detect the presence of an illegal substance. Such is the case with cutting-edge fingerprint technology that detects the presence of cocaine in the unlikeliest of places.

This technology is no robbery or burglary identification tool. Instead, it detects the presence of cocaine in the user in a matter of minutes, with quicker testing on its way. It is also 99 percent accurate, even when the user washes his or her hands.

Developed by scientists in the UK and the Netherlands, this fingerprint test is not in use throughout Florida just yet. However, if it proves to be effective elsewhere, it is likely to spread across the country.

How Fingerprint Drug Detection Technology Works

Traditional drug testing requires a urine, blood, saliva or hair sample. It is expensive, time-consuming, and often a biological hazard. Fingerprints, on the other hand, are simple, they are not considered hazardous, and there is no disposal to have to consider.

How can fingerprints indicate the presence of drugs? Apparently, the evidence has been there all along. Science is just beginning to process it. According to the UK newspaper, The Independent, the body produces certain chemicals as cocaine is metabolized. Those chemicals are present in sweat, which transfer in fingerprints.

Using technology called Ambient Mass Spectrometry, drug testers collect fingerprints in a special paper, mist it with a certain liquid, and lift the droplets for processing. It only takes a few minutes to get 99 percent accurate results.

This Innovative Drug Testing Has Myriad Possibilities

The opportunities for fingerprint drug testing are vast. Law enforcement officers may use it in the field to determine if a driver or a suspicious person is under the influence of cocaine. Dr. Catia Costa of Surrey University tells The Independent that it’s “incredibly sensitive and is very easy to set up.” So it is both accurate and convenient.

In prisons, guards may detect the presence of illicit drugs without invasive drug testing as well. The tester does not even need a full fingerprint. Research published in the Royal Society of Chemistry explains that “a small area of a single fingerprint” is enough for comprehensive analysis.

Outside of its applications in law enforcement, fingerprint drug testing may help during a substance abuse intervention. Institutions such as drug rehab in Florida could identify both the presence of drugs and the type. In a hospital setting, practitioners may get faster readings and know what they are dealing with in an overdose situation.

Drug testing helps provide appropriate care in a treatment facility and in emergency situations such as overdose. It also helps law enforcement identify both the people who are under the influence of drugs and the substance that they have used. If research continues on the same trajectory, fingerprint drug testing could revolutionize the way samples are collected and processed. There will be fewer reasons to collect biohazards such as urine, saliva, or blood and less dependency on special biohazard disposal.

Fingerprint drug testing improves enforcement, but it also helps with accountability. With some of the most sensitive drug detection available, drug addicts in treatment have one more tool for staying on the straight and narrow.

If you or any of your loved ones have an addiction to cocaine or any other substance, calling now can save a life. Contact us to learn about medically-assisted detox and an array of treatment options to help restore a healthier, happier life.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.