A new noninvasive test coming out of the University of Surrey, the National Physical Laboratory, Netherlands Forensic Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, and King’s College London is able to detect drug use – specifically, cocaine – via fingerprint. The team of researchers created the testing methodology by utilizing mass spectrometry for fingerprint and saliva testing. Although previous tests for fingerprints have used similar methods, these tests simply proved if a person had touched cocaine. The new testing method is able to specifically determine if cocaine has been ingested into the body.

“‘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,’ said lead author Dr Melanie Bailey from the University of Surrey…Researchers believe that the applications for this test could be far-reaching. Drug testing is used routinely by probation services, prisons, courts and other law enforcement agencies.”

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