Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant. Even in small doses, it can cause users to feel euphoric and extremely excited. According to the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report published online in March 2017, the United States is experiencing a rise in cocaine use owing to increasing demand across its population. Authors of the report published by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State, revealed, “There are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade.”
The rising prevalence of cocaine use compelled scientists to look for potential non-invasive methods that could help detect possible drug abuse. Now, a new study by researchers from the University of Surrey has suggested that fingerprint tests could help reveal cocaine use with the same efficiency as saliva examination. The researchers said how the novel method of fingerprint testing could indicate positive or negative results almost immediately as opposed to current methods that take up to 15 minutes to deliver results. The British study titled “Rapid detection of cocaine, benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine in fingerprints using surface mass spectrometry” was published online in the journal Clinical Chemistry in September 2017.
Assessing cocaine presence using fingerprint analysis
For the study, the researchers examined 16 cocaine users seeking recovery at a drug rehab by making use of the new fingerprint method. The respondents were also required to provide their saliva samples for comparing the results obtained from both the tests. The participants were asked to wash their hands using different methods. After that, the researchers took their fingerprints on a chromatography paper and treated it using a solvent before using it for further analysis.
The researchers then placed the samples in front of a mass spectrometer. This allowed the chemical makeup of the fingerprint to sweat up into the device for evaluating the mass of the molecules found in the print. Since each kind of drug has a distinct molecular mass, the device detects the presence of any drug including cocaine. The researchers had made use of a high-resolution mass spectrometer for the study.
The research method is significant as it could help expedite the drug tests, though it does not help gauge the extent of cocaine present in the system of those under observation. The scientists stressed that the method only helped detect the presence of cocaine in the body similar to saliva testing, albeit a bit faster. In addition, owing to fingerprints being unique to every person, using this method would put an end to all possibilities of test results getting jumbled up, ending any scope of unwarranted dispute.
Detecting addiction problem for immediate treatment
Addiction is a problem that needs to be resolved and innovative methods like this can be used to detect the presence of drugs quickly, further raising the scope for timely treatment. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 1.9 million people aged 12 years or older used cocaine in 2016.
One needs to seek expert advice to get rid of the effects of drugs like cocaine. Sovereign Health, one of the leading cocaine addiction treatment centers in EL Paso, Texas, provides evidence-based treatment to ensure complete recovery from dependence on the drug. The purpose of our cocaine treatment programs in Texas is to make every patient feel that he/she can lead a sober life after being treated for addiction. For more information, contact our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our counselors.