Weekend drug-takers risk being caught out by new device

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Weekend drug users now face being caught out at work thanks to a new drugs test developed for use by employers across the UK.

The portable test can detect small traces of substances in less than ten minutes and would cost employers just a few pound, developers said.

The technology can pick up traces of cocaine, opiate, cannabis and amphetamine with an accuracy comparable to urine tests, scientists behind the device added.

Cambridge-based manufacturer Fingerprinting, which developed the test, plans to market the device mostly to prisons, hospitals and coroners.

But its clients will also include large companies where drug abuse can affect employees’ ability to work, according to the Times.

Most commercial tests currently analyse saliva, urine or hair follicles to detect the chemicals, but are uncommon in the workplace due to the difficulty of obtaining samples.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have discovered that metabolites caused by drug use could be identified in sweat left by fingerprints.

The device, which recognises metabolites, has been tested at a mortuary in Sheffield to detect whether drug use was a factor in unexplained deaths and is now ready for commercial use, developers added.

The NHS estimates about one in 12 British adults – 2.7 million people – took at least one illicit drug in 2015-16.

There were almost 2,500 deaths linked to drug misuse in those two years.

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