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Tagged In:  Drugs, Substance Misuse

A social care and health charity is piloting innovative fingerprint technology to test for substance use to support the drug recovery programmes it delivers.

Change, grow, live (CGL) is trailing the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug screening system as part of its support and rehabilitation initiatives for people it helps affected by drug misuse.

Non-invasive drug testing

The drug screening system from Intelligent Fingerprinting is non-invasive and easy to use and will enable CGL – a charity which strives to innovate and develop new approaches to service delivery - to determine if a client has recently used drugs.

The fingerprint-based drug screening system consists of a four-panel test cartridge and the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting Reader 1000 analysis instrument.

It can detect any of the four drugs in the test – amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates – within a matter of minutes by analysing chemicals contained in traces of sweat in a fingerprint sample.

Traditional tests involve saliva or urine but the Intelligent Fingerprinting system is hygienic, dignified, and does not require specialist collection facilities or biohazardous waste disposal.

Positive feedback

The new test is being seen as a real benefit to the charity, which carries out the drug tests as part of its ongoing rehabilitation programmes.

The pilot is being conducted at a CGL clinic in East Anglia and with early positive feedback from service users and the charity’s counselling staff, the results will be of interest to substance misuse workers and professionals working closely with individuals and families affected by drug issues.

Extending the service

Dr Paul Yates, Business Development Director at Intelligent Fingerprinting, has already indicated that after the pilot in the eastern region the plan is to roll the drug screening system out to other areas.

CGLs Medical Director Dr Prun Bijral said an important part of the charity’s work involves providing clients with the support needed to help maintain recovery and reduce the possibility of a relapse.

“Having visibility of the client’s progress and whether or not they have used drugs recently is critical in determining how we tailor our programme to support each individual,” he added.

Wider applications of portable testing

With its portability, the test system does not have to be used in a clinical setting, meaning it can be delivered in a range of locations and provide drug rehabilitation services close to the people who need support.

The charity says the dignified and respectful approach of the tests – avoiding urine samples and oral swabs – will also help reduce some of the concerns people may have about entering treatment.

Given its portability, the system has a range potential applications including helping tackle drug use in prisons, police initiatives such as roadside testing for drug driving, coroner services, as well as establishing fitness for duty in safety critical workplaces such as the transport and construction industries.

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