Using Cocaine? Fingerprints Might Tell

News Picture: Using Cocaine? Fingerprints Might Tell

FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) — An experimental fingerprint test could confirm within seconds if someone has used cocaine, according to a brand-new study.

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The screening might pave the way for fingerprint-detection of additional dangerous drugs such as heroin in addition to ecstasy, said scientists at the University of Surrey in England.

“This particular will be a real breakthrough in our work to bring a real-time, noninvasive drug-testing method to the market that will will provide a definitive result in a matter of minutes. We are already working on a 30-second method,” said study co-leader Melanie Bailey, a chemistry lecturer.

When people take cocaine, they excrete trace amounts of benzoylecgonine in addition to methylecgonine. These chemicals can be detected in fingerprint residue even after hand-washing, the researchers explained.

For the study, 239 sets of fingerprints were taken through patients seeking treatment at drug rehab centers in addition to through a larger control group of non-drug users.

The screening “will be noninvasive, hygienic in addition to can’t be faked,” Bailey said in a university news Discharge. “By the nature of the test, the identity of the subject, in addition to their drug use, will be all captured within the sample itself.”

The British researchers developed the test in partnership with the Netherlands Forensic Institute within the Hague in addition to Intelligent Fingerprinting of Cambridge, England. They used chromatography paper to collect fingerprint samples in addition to relied on a technique known as paper spray mass spectrometry.

“Paper spray mass spectrometry will be gaining increasing popularity in forensic circles because the idea will be incredibly sensitive in addition to will be very easy to set up a testing system. The units will save laboratories time,” said study co-leader Catia Costa, a doctoral student in Bailey’s university lab.

“This particular will be initially the idea has ever been used to detect the presence of drugs in fingerprints, in addition to our results show the technique was 99 percent effective in detecting cocaine use among the patients,” Costa said.

The researchers said the test could be ready within 10 years for use by law enforcement. They noted that will traditional drug tests, which rely on bodily fluids, can pose biological hazards in addition to may be more difficult to discard or store.

The study was published recently within the journal Clinical Chemistry.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

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SOURCE: University of Surrey, news Discharge, September 2017

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