Five-Minute Drug Test Detects Cocaine, Marijuana and More
Parents who want to screen their children for drugs could soon have an inexpensive, five-minute drug test that can detect cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal substances. The disposable test analyzes a drop of saliva in minutes for less than three dollars.
Quick, Affordable Drug Test Has Several Uses
Universal Sensors Ltd., of Cambridge, United Kingdom, has developed a test that can detect as little as a metabolite (small molecules) of cocaine in a drop of saliva. In addition to suspicious parents, the new test can be used by law enforcement to check for drug use during traffic stops and other occasions, and by employers.
Although the drug tests are designed to be used at home, Kevin Auton, commercial director of Universal Sensors, notes that “we are very focused on getting the test out of the laboratory and onto other platforms. It is as simple to use as a pregnancy test.”
To use the test, an individual uses a swab to take a saliva sample from the subject’s mouth. The sample is placed into a machine and the result is returned within five minutes. The process “has the potential to provide police with a straightforward, unambiguous test result, which would help identify drug drivers and secure convictions,” said a company spokesperson.
Although drug use is a factor in a number of vehicle accidents and deaths, the true number of cases involving drugs is not known because alcohol and drugs are often taken at the same time. Police who detect alcohol, which can be done easily at the scene, are often unlikely to follow up with time-consuming drug testing. A simple drug test such as this one can make on-the-spot detection possible.
Currently there are a few other home tests on the market for illegal drugs, some of which use saliva while others require a urine sample. This new five-minute drug test is a boon especially for law enforcement but for parents as well, as it may offer an inexpensive, reliable, and easy-to-use home drug testing alternative.