Cocaine and other drugs immediately detectable with a new fingerprint test

Cocaine and other drugs immediately detectable with a new fingerprint test

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Fingerprint test detects traces of cocaine on the hands

Cocaine use in Germany has been increasing for years. The EU drug report of 2019 shows that both the number of seizures and the quantities of cocaine seized are at a record high. Consumption is currently only detectable in hair, urine or in the blood. A new simple fingerprint test is designed to detect minute traces of the drug on the hands, even after they have been thoroughly washed.

Researchers from the University of Surrey presented a new test for the detection of cocaine. With the help of a fingerprint, the test can recognize traces of cocaine on the fingers. The test should be accurate enough to differentiate whether the person being tested has consumed the drug or only came into contact with it. The test was recently presented in the scientific reports.

Drug analysis in less than two minutes

"A fingerprint is a good way to test for drugs because it is so quick and efficient to capture," reports Dr. Min Jang from the research team. With the new methodology, it is possible to analyze a fingerprint sample for cocaine in less than two minutes.

Test can be specialized in other chemicals

"We are excited about the possibilities for fingerprint drug tests," emphasizes Dr. Catia Costa from the University of Surrey. In addition to the illegal drugs, there is also the possibility of using the test to prove active pharmaceutical ingredients in fingerprints. For example, it could be used to check which medications patients have taken.

How does the test work?

The research team used an experimental approach for the test. With the help of high-resolution mass spectrometry, individual molecules or atoms can be recognized on the finger. In a series of tests with cocaine users and participants who only came into contact with the drug but did not use it, the researchers found that a molecule called benzoylecgonine is only produced in the case of the users. Using this molecule, the test can determine whether cocaine has been used within the past 24 hours.

Washing hands doesn't protect

The participants were asked to perform two tests. After the first test, the test subjects should then clean their hands and perform the test again. It was shown that even thorough hand washing did not falsify the results.

"We think this research is really significant because our high-resolution mass spectrometry test can tell the difference between a person who has touched a drug and someone who has actually used it - just by taking their fingerprints," adds Dr. Melanie Bailey from the study team.

Portable device

"This laboratory study on cocaine tests using high-resolution mass spectrometry confirms the approach we are using to market our portable, fingerprint-based drug screening system," added Professor David Russell, founder and scientific director of "Intelligent Fingerprinting" - the company sells the mobile test devices . (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • University of Surrey: Experimental fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled cocaine (published: February 6th, 2020),
  • European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction: European Drugs Report 2019,
  • M. Jang, C. Costa, J. Bunch, et al .: On the relevance of cocaine detection in a fingerprint; in: Scientific Reports, 2020,

Video: How to Know if the Drug Youre Snorting Isnt Cocaine - Thomas Lennon (July 2022).


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  2. Fekree

    This seems to do the trick.

  3. Voodoorn

    Bravo, what words ..., brilliant idea

  4. Traigh

    Agree, this is the excellent idea

  5. Maitland

    I disagree with her

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