Fingerprints to Reveal the Use of Cocaine:

A research showed that a simple paper based test can reveal the use of cocaine. The fingerprints of the alleged drug abuser are taken on a special paper and check with the big spectrometer that can detect the use of cocaine even after the hands are washed. The drug abusers excrete compounds of benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine as they metabolize cocaine and excrete these substances through sweat. The test only takes about 30 seconds which is very helpful and quick in compare to previous methods which takes hours and it save lots of laboratory time.


The study performed by the University of Surrey and Intelligent Fingerprintingin this behalf, took two groups of people. First group was of people who were known cocaine users in rehabilitation centers and second group was of people who had never used drugs. The research started and every time they had to take fingerprinting sample, the participants were told to wash their hands. Even after washing the hands the excreted compounds could still be found.

"This exciting research clearly demonstrates the important role that fingerprints can play in simplifying drug screening, and complements our own parallel developments in portable, point-of-care diagnostic tests.  These activities confirm the value of a fingerprint as a diagnostic matrix," said Dr. Jerry, CEO ofIntelligent Fingerprinting.

The researchers also took the saliva test, which is commonly used to check for drug abuse, to cross-check the results. This new technique is not only hygienic but is also great revolution in the storing and data base purposes as the finger prints will be used to identify the person and help keeping people from forging the test.

“Intelligent Fingerprinting, that will provide a definitive result in a matter of minutes—we are already working on a 30-second method,” offered Dr. Melanie, the lead study author. “And, as with previous methods we have developed, it is non-invasive, hygienic, and can’t be faked—by the nature of the test, the identity of the subject, and their drug use, is all captured within the sample itself.” This technique is not available at all places right now as the spectrometer is massive and expensive but after the scientist find a way to build it in smaller sizes it would be very helpful and can be used in hospitals, schools and police stations.

Dr. Catia, one of the co-study authors, explained, “This is the first time it has ever been used to detect the presence of drugs in fingerprints, and our results show the technique was 99% effective in detecting cocaine use among the patients.” The handprint or fingerprint test for drugs also existed previously but that test could only show that the person has touched the drugs not that whether the person has consumed the drug or not.

National Statistics Office (NSO) claims that according to statistics from 2015 to 2016 every 1 in 12 adults aged 16-59 used prohibited drugs. Around 8,500 people were admitted for drug related mental disorders and behaviors. In addition to this 0ver 2,500 people died due to drugs which are 10% more than 2014. After all this horrific numbers, this technique is lifesaving as due to this we can control drug abuse in offices and educational institutes.

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