According to a new study, it can be confirmed within seconds whether you are using cocaine or not via fingerprints. Scientists at the University of Surrey said screening might lead to fingerprint detection of other drugs like heroin and ecstasy.
Study’s co-lead, Melaine Bailey said that this is an important breakthrough in their research to introduce such a non-invasive, real-time drug-testing method to the market. Bailey further added that she and her team is currently working on a 30-second method.
Researchers explained that when people consume cocaine, they excrete benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine that are present in the fingerprint even after washing hands.
For this study, nearly 200 sets of fingerprints were analyzed from a treatment group of drug users that were compared with control group, who did not use drugs.
Bailey said in a news release that this method is hygienic and couldn’t be faked. With this test, subject’s identity and drug use pattern can be easily screened.
This test has been developed by British researchers in partnership with the Netherlands Institute of Forensic Science in The Hague. Chromatography was used to collect samples of fingerprints, and paper spray mass spectrometry (PSMS) was used. PSMS is gaining popularity because setting up the system is very convenient.
This is for the first time that researchers established a relation between drug use and fingerprints. The study findings suggested that the technique is almost 99% effective in detecting cocaine use.
Traditional methods of testing have their own limitations as they are based on body fluids that are hazardous and probably, more difficult to discard or store.