Friday, April 26, 2013

Could the Police Get a Breathalyzer for Marijuana and Cocaine?

Could the Police Get a Breathalyzer for Marijuana and Cocaine?  

The police already have fairly sophisticated ways to tell if you're driving while drunk – witness this alcohol-sniffing flashlight that a cop can aim inside your car. But will they someday be able to tell if you're high as well, with a breathalyzer-type device that senses the recent use of cannabis, cocaine and other drugs?

The technology certainly seems to be heading that way, to believe new research out of Sweden. On Thursday, scientists at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute announced that they'd successfully detected drugs by analyzing the groovy vapors wafting from people's gullets. Their technique picked out not just classic stuff like weed, cocaine and amphetamine, but also prescription drugs such as diazepam and the painkiller buprenorphine, raising the possibility that Future Cops could bust drivers for raiding their medicine cabinets to the point of impairment.

So how'd the researchers manage this feat? By using a cheapish, commercially available monitor called the SensAbues, it turns out. They gathered a group of drug users from an addiction emergency clinic and took blood and urine samples for a baseline. They then had them blow into the SensAbues to collect the contents of their lungs, which they parsed using chromatography and mass-spectrometry techniques.

For the rest of the story: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2013/04/could-police-get-breathalyzer-marijuana-and-cocaine/5412/

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