Technology used in toxicology testing for substance abuse is being developed in a new fingerprint drug screening device. This will assist Police in carrying out tests for drug driving offences on the roadside.
Metabolites (a substance produced during metabolism) can be found in tiny traces of sweat on fingerprints which can be analysed on the spot to show whether the suspect has injected or ingested a drug recently. The technique could possibly screen numerous drug groups in a very short space of time making it non-invasive and cost effective.
The device would give a better reading of whether the substance taken is recent enough to have impaired driving ability than the usual urine sample, which can indicate illegal drug taking within several days as opposed to more recently.
The test would be used for more commonplace illegal drugs such as opiates, cocaine, heroin, the tranquillizer group and cannabis initially. Testing this way would mean initial readings which if shown positive, would need lab based confirmation, if negative, then time and resources on the processing of each person tested would be greatly reduced.