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Portable Device Detects Illegal Drugs Instantly with 95% Accuracy: A Game-changer in Law Enforcement

by Tech Desk
2 minutes read
Portable Device Detects Illegal Drugs Instantly with 95% Accuracy: A Game-changer in Law Enforcement

A device that can instantly detect illegal drugs soaked in paper or cloth is set to be authorized for distribution across the UK in the near future. Developed by scientists at the University of Bath, this pocket-sized device has been funded by the UK government’s Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) fund. Its primary purpose is to detect synthetic cannabinoids, specifically Spice, which are commonly used in prisons and homeless communities in the UK.

Spice, a class of psychoactive substances, can have fatal consequences and lead to severe side effects such as psychosis, stroke, and seizures. The researchers behind this innovative device hope that it will help combat the smuggling of Spice into prisons and reduce the harmful impact of these highly addictive synthetic drugs on users. While currently designed to detect Spice, further engineering could enable the device to identify all types of synthetic drugs.

According to Professor Christopher Pudney from the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Bath who led the investigation, their device is groundbreaking due to its portability, low cost, battery-powered operation, and ability to provide instant results that anyone can interpret. However, detecting Spice poses significant challenges with existing technology because it is often concealed within physical products like paper and fabric or even vaping liquid.

The potential impact of this drug detector has been highlighted in an article published in Analytic Chemistry. Researchers are optimistic that mass production can begin this fall once they find a suitable manufacturing company capable of producing and distributing these devices on a large scale. Initially targeting prisons, probation services, homeless shelters, and relevant charities within the UK, there are plans for international distribution as well.

Smuggling Spice into institutions typically involves soaking it into paper or other solid materials like clothing because most detection technologies struggle with testing these “complex” materials. Inside prisons specifically, Spice is divided into smaller sheets before being smoked using vaporizers made from crumpled paper. This makes detection challenging within prison environments.

The uniqueness of this device lies in its ability to detect drugs in a wide range of materials with high precision (95%). The research team has even demonstrated successful detection in vaping liquid and vape pen caps. By decreasing the availability of Spice within vulnerable communities, the researchers hope that this device will contribute to reducing addiction rates and improving Completely health outcomes.

The device operates by detecting the fluorescent properties present in synthetic cannabinoid molecules. When it comes into contact with a material suspected of containing absorbed Spice, it first identifies the material and then tests for the presence of Spice. An LED alarm system alerts operators to the presence of Spice, with brighter LEDs indicating higher concentrations of the substance.

Looking ahead, Professor Pudney’s team is working on modifying the device to detect all synthetic drugs, including benzodiazepines and highly addictive opioids. They believe that this goal can be achieved within the next two years.

Spice is significantly more dangerous and unpredictable than natural cannabis. It was initially designed to mimic the effects of cannabis but turned out much stronger, posing greater risks. More recently, Spice has been added to vape liquids, putting unsuspecting smokers in danger. Despite attempts to hide it within vape liquids containing THC or cannabis oil, this new device can easily detect Spice by simply testing the mouthpiece of a vaporizer.

In substance, this portable drug detection device developed by scientists at the University of Bath shows great promise in combating drug smuggling and reducing harm caused by synthetic drugs like Spice. Its innovative features make it an efficient tool for instant detection in various materials. With further advancements expected over time, this device could play a crucial role in protecting vulnerable communities from these dangerous substances.

According to Technological Networks’ source (1), researchers are hopeful that mass production will begin soon after finding suitable manufacturers capable of distributing these devices widely.

(1) Illegal Drugs Detected Instantly with 95% Accuracy by Portable Device – Technological Networks


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