A recent study shows that 1 in 10 people has traces of drugs on their fingerprints although they never used drugs. Researchers from the University of Surrey discovered that more than 13% of people can have traces of heroin or cocaine on their fingers without knowing. These researchers developed a test to identify users and to see which type of drug they consume.
Getting Drug Traces from Environmental Contaminants
The scientists also managed to differentiate those who use drugs and non-users who have drugs on their fingerprints. For this research, scientists tested 15 drug users and 50 drug-free volunteers. The drug users took heroin or cocaine 24 hours before the test. Researchers tested the fingerprints of drug-free volunteers and they still found traces of heroin or cocaine.
About 13% of them had traces on their hands despite never consuming the drugs. Scientists were able to distinguish between the ones who had traces from environmental contaminants and those who were drug users. Researchers also tested to see if the drugs can transfer with a simple handshake. Non-users shake hands with the drug users.
The researchers tested them once again and observed that the drug traces can transfer easily. Despite this fact they were still able to establish which one is a drug-user and which one had the traces because of transfer. Researchers mentioned that they were surprised by the large number of people who have traces of cocaine or heroin.
Hope for Easier Future Drug Tests
Despite the fact that drugs are a common contaminant, the study shows that more people have traces of Class A drugs on their fingerprints than expected. The leader of the study, Mahado Ismail, mentioned that this type of testing could be the future of drug-testing because it is easy to collect and non-invasive. Despite this fact, tests like this need to be improved in order to show the real results.