New fingerprint technology will reveal if someone has recently used heroin – even if they washed their hands afterwards
- Will be able to tell if someone has accidentally made contact with it
- conducted by experts at the University of Surrey
- The team had previously used such technology to detect signs of cocaine use
New sophisticated technology that can determine whether a person has used heroin, even if his washes his hands, could help police identify drug users and dealers.
A forensic test developed by scientists in the UK is able to differentiate between those who have taken Class A drugs or inadvertently made contact with it by shaking hands with someone else who has handled it.
Researchers at the University of Surrey were able to create the instrument using fingerprints from 10 patients seeking treatment at a drug rehabilitation clinic who had used heroin or cocaine in the previous 24 hours.
Survey University researchers have succeeded in creating the tool using fingerprint samples attacks from 10 patients seeking treatment at a drug rehabilitation clinic (file image)
Participants were asked to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before putting on disposable gloves for ten minutes to get their hands on sweat and provide another fingerprint sample.
The same process was conducted with 50 volunteers who declared themselves to be non-drug users, allowing scientists to distinguish substances from each group.
Dr. Melanie Bailey, co-author of an article in The Journal of Analytical Toxicology, says: "Our team at the University of Surrey believes that the technology we are developing will make our communities safer and shorten the route for these who need help to overcome their addictions.
previously used similar technology to reveal signs of cocaine use (image file)
"We also believe that technology has scope in other areas, such as confirming whether a patient is taking his medication."
Collective researcher Katya Costa added: "N. our results show that this non-invasive and innovative technology is sensitive enough to identify Class A drugs in several scenarios – even after people washed their hands using different methods.
"Most importantly, our study shows that the handwashing process is important when trying to judge whether someone has used Class A drugs."
The team has previously used similar technology to reveal signs of cocaine use.
In August, the National Crime Agency made the largest seizure of heroin in Felixstowe, near la 1.3 tonnes with a street value of over 120 million pounds.