The days of saliva or blood samples for drug tests may very well be over. Researchers at the University of Surrey have engineered a test that can tell if someone has used cocaine simply by checking their fingerprints.
The new test, alongside additional research support from Netherlands Forensic Institute, the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, King’s College London, and Sheffield Hallam University, can differentiate between people who have ingested cocaine and people who’ve barely handled the drug. “When someone has taken cocaine, they excrete traces of benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine as they metabolise the drug, and these chemical indicators are present in fingerprint residue,” explains the study’s lead author, Dr. Melanie Bailey. “The beauty of this method is that, not only is it non-invasive and more hygienic than testing blood or saliva, it can’t be faked,” Bailey continues.
One hurdle to the widespread implementation of the test is developing small spectrometers to make it portable (and cheaper), with several companies attempting to address the issue with the intention of making such tests more accessible to police, courts, rehabilitation programs and private consumers. Though researchers predict the developments could lead to portable testing by said police departments, lucky for you party people, it will take another decade to properly develop. Perhaps coinciding with some kind of artificial fingerprint technology which could render the buzz-kill approach powerless…but, for now, that is also just a dream.
Let’s face it. Drugs are an integral part of the tourist economy on Ibiza, whether we like it or not. Should such a test become a reality, we anticipate some MUCH longer queues at the airport.
Source: USA Today