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Cocaine use may be evident in one's fingerprint

New Jersey residents might be interested to know that the way law enforcement operates in regards to certain drug users could change in the coming decade as a new test reportedly makes identifying those who have used cocaine simple. Instead of taking fluid samples or waiting for a lab to analyze results, this drug test works with just a fingerprint.

Specific chemical reactions take place in the body when metabolizing cocaine, and fingerprint residue holds traces of the indicators that mean someone has consumed the drug. This means the test can differentiate between someone who has merely come into contact with cocaine and someone who used it. Researchers developed a technique to test fingerprints as an alternative to testing blood, urine or saliva, and the recent;y-published study highlights how the test analyzes the trace chemicals found in a fingerprint.

The test works because of a technique called mass spectrometry that detects the chemicals, and the researchers who conducted the study hope that this test can help law enforcement agencies as it would be a portable drug test that is hygienic and non-invasive. Researchers also believe results cannot be faked when using this testing method.

A test like this may help law enforcement agencies identify cocaine users, but one facing allegations of drug use still has rights and is entitled to representation by legal counsel. For now, one can only speculate about how a method like this would influence the criminal justice process. While researchers think the test cannot be tampered with or faked, the accuracy of this method is currently unknown. A test that is highly accurate might be seen as scientifically valid evidence in court while a less accurate test might not be enough to convict someone without more solid evidence.

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