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Fingerprint test can detect presence of drugs without drawing blood

November 11, 2019


Using high-resolution mass spectrometry technology – which is able to detect heroin, 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-AM) and other analytes associated with the class A drug – the technology can identify traces of heroin on human skin even if someone has washed their hands.

It is also smart enough to distinguish an individual’s degree of exposure to the drug, from whether they have used it to whether they have merely shaken hands with someone who has handled it.

Researchers took fingerprints from ten people seeking treatment at drug rehabilitation clinics who has taken heroin or cocaine in the last 24 hours. One fingerprint was collected from each finger of the right hand, after which participants were asked to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water and then wear nitrile gloves for a period of time before giving another set of fingerprints.