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November 12, 2019
A roadside breathalyzer test that would test drivers for many types of illegal drugs could soon be a reality. Swedish scientists have been conducting research and have identified 12 substances found in the breath of those who had taken drugs in the previous 24 hours. The roadside testing would cover marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs. Tests were conducted on at least 40 patients who were recovering at a drug addiction clinic.
Using a commercially available breath sampler, this research study is the first to detect alprazolam (the active ingredient in Xanax and other anti-anxiety drugs) and benzoylecgonine (a cocaine byproduct) in exhaled breath. Previous findings were also confirmed by the study including that other highly recognized illegal drugs such as cocaine, methadone, amphetamine, methamphetamine, morphine,
6-acetylmorphine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, marijuana’s active ingredient), buprenorphine (a synthetic narcotic), diazepam (Valium is one brand) and oxazepam (a sedative) can be detected in the breath of a person.
“Considering the samples were taken 24 hours after the intake of drugs, we were surprised to find that there was still high detectability for most drugs,” study author Olof Beck, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said.
Currently, police in many countries detect illegal drug use via blood, urine and saliva samples. Drug tests used with the aid of a breathalyzer would be simpler, less invasive and easier to use in many locations, including roadside checks.
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