Dr Paul Yates, our Business Development Director, explains how new fingerprint-based drug tests could provide a more dignified and convenient drug screening solution for drug rehab clinicians and their clients.
Maintaining an open and honest relationship between client and clinician is critical to the success of any drug rehabilitation programme. As a result, many clinics recognise the positive role of drug screening in enabling a more transparent approach to treatment and in measuring a client’s progress towards recovery.
The challenge when implementing a drug screening programme in a drug rehab setting is to ensure it serves as a positive tool which helps to keep a client on track, rather than a perfunctory exercise or, worse, a degrading and punitive measure which could damage the all-important relationship between client and clinician.
Conventional drug screening tests often require the collection and analysis of a body fluid sample such as urine, saliva or blood to detect drug use. However, these existing techniques have shortfalls.
Body fluid samples are invasive and can be difficult and time-consuming to collect. They represent a biohazard requiring protective measures for clients and staff, and the need for screening kits to be disposed of as costly clinical waste. Specialist training and pre-prepared collection areas are often required, limiting where and when screens can be carried out. This reduces their deterrent effect and increases the costs associated with the screening programme. Pre-planned screening to address these limitations provides an opportunity for individuals to take measures to ‘beat’ the tests.
One of the least popular aspects of drug screening schemes is the common requirement for clients to provide observed urine samples. This approach aims to prevent cheating but it is time-consuming, undignified and potentially damaging to the client-clinician relationship which underpins the success of the whole treatment programme.
Arguably, a more effective and compassionate approach to drug screening is needed to support drug rehabilitation programmes. Intelligent Fingerprinting could provide the solution. Our scientists are developing a fingerprint-based mobile drug screening device which it is hoped will revolutionise the way in which drug testing is carried out. Our non-invasive technology detects the same drugs as conventional body fluid screening tests at equivalent levels of accuracy and works by capturing and analysing the sweat found in a fingerprint.
The screening process is quick, easy and, most importantly, dignified. The client provides a sample by pressing their fingertip onto a disposable collection cartridge. The cartridge is inserted into the portable reader for analysis, with results in under 10 minutes. The test is non-invasive, easy to administer and difficult to cheat. Minimal staff training is needed and no pre-prepared collection areas are required, enabling random screening anywhere, any time. Fingerprint sample cartridges are safe to handle and can be discarded with normal refuse.
In the UK, we have been working closely with drug rehabilitation clinics during the development of our revolutionary drug screening technology and pilot projects within drug rehab settings are underway.