New test screens for cocaine via single fingerprint
For the first time, researchers will be able to determine whether or not you have ingested cocaine via new, non-invasive test.
According to Analyst, scientists from the University of Surrey, Department of Chemistry in Surrey, England used mass spectrometry to analyze fingerprints of patients attending drug treatment services. They then tested this against saliva samples to see if there was any correlation between the two. While previous tests have had the same methodology, they were only able to determine whether or not a subject had touched cocaine, not if they had ingested it.
Researchers looked for trace amounts of benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine in fingerprint residue using both DESI (Desoprtion Electrospray Ionization) and MALDI (Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization) techniques, as those are both alkaloids that a body excretes when it metabolizes cocaine.
Obviously, this will have far-reaching implications in the world of drug-testing as it provides a non-invasive and hygienic alternative to previous methods (blood and urine testing), and requires less in the way of storage and disposal of potentially hazardous bodily fluids. It’s been project that in 10 years time, law enforcement officials will would be able to have and use portable versions of the test.
"By the very nature of the test, the identity of the subject is captured within the fingerprint ridge detail itself,” said Dr. Melanie Bailey from the University of Surrey, who later continued, “this will help to protect the public and indeed provide a much safer test for drug users."