Drug testing using fingerprint sweat

PUBLISHED: 13:37 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:37 02 August 2019

A tamper-evident drug screening cartridge collects fingerprint sweat samples, which are then tested in a portable analysis unit. Picture: Intelligent Fingerprinting.

A tamper-evident drug screening cartridge collects fingerprint sweat samples, which are then tested in a portable analysis unit. Picture: Intelligent Fingerprinting.


Fingerprint drug testing is being used to support health and justice rehabilitation services in the borough.

St Luke's Service, a free drug and alcohol service in Dagenham, is using the Intelligent Fingerprinting portable drug test as part of its one-to-one rehabilitation service, which features regular testing to encourage clients in abstaining from drug use.

Run by Change Grow Live, St Luke's Service provides support and treatment to adults in the borough with drug problems, including those on probation.

The innovative system collects fingerprint sweat samples in a tamper-evident drug screening cartridge, before the portable analysis unit provides a positive or negative result on-screen in 10 minutes.

It is ideal for drug treatment programmes as it enables frequent, onsite and rapid testing to support compliance with court-mandated or probation service conditions.

Change Grow Live services manager Christine Ayton said: "We are starting to use the Intelligent Fingerprinting drug testing system as part of our health and justice services - supporting people whose drug use has brought them into contact with the judicial system.

"We work with police, prisons, courts and other health and social care services to provide integrated drug and alcohol treatment interventions that aim to stop reoffending and further harm to individuals and society.

"Although we have only recently started using the new fingerprint test method, responses from both clients and staff have been very good."

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Fingerprint sample collection is more dignified and hygienic than traditional testing procedures involving saline or urine.

The method speeds up the testing process and is more convenient and cost effective, as there is no need for specialist collection facilities or biohazardous waste disposal.

"These are huge advantages for both the client and our staff - especially as part of our ethos to put the service user's well-being first and foremost," Ms Ayton said.

Samples can be collected and testing during a client's daily or weekly meeting, which helps to track their drug recovery and adherence to probation conditions, as the results available for discussion there and then.

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting said: "The fact that the test can be conducted onsite, and screening results produced quickly without the requirement for specialist medical staff or designated collection areas, confirms the applicability of our testing approach for specialist criminal justice drug applications such as the St Luke's Service."

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