New fingerprint drug test now available for the Shipping industry


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New fingerprint drug test now available for the Shipping industry

  • World’s first fingerprint-based portable drug testing system supports end-to-end testing, from pre-employment screens & random on-board drug tests through to post-accident investigations
  • Non-invasive, hygienic system enables convenient, flexible testing to combat drug usage in ports and at sea

Intelligent Fingerprinting, developer of the world’s first fingerprint-based drug test, is simplifying workplace drug testing for the shipping industry with the availability of a simple-to-use, portable drug testing solution that features innovative fingerprint sweat analysis technology.  The system is currently available for forensic use only in the USA.

The new end-to-end system features an initial screening test that works by analyzing sweat from a fingerprint to determine if an employee – or sub-contractor – in the maritime industry has recently used cocaine, opiates, amphetamines or cannabis. Sample collection takes only five seconds, with simultaneous screening results for all four drug groups provided in ten minutes. Given the long hours working at ports and on board ships, it is essential that both regular and random drug tests are quick and easy to use. Intelligent Fingerprinting’s unique fingerprint-based approach enables all forms of on board drug testing to support maritime drug policies, from pre-employment screening, to for-cause and random testing.

The flexibility and ease-of-use of the fingerprint drug test make it particularly applicable for shipping operations such as tankers and bulk carriers, supply vessels, cruise ships, ferries and others that need to carry out drug tests. Unlike traditional blood, urine or saliva-based drug tests which can be invasive, time-consuming and undignified for testers and employees, the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting drug testing solution is convenient, hygienic and quick to deploy – wherever it is needed. As no specialist medical or sample collection facilities are required, the test can be easily conducted at ports where shipping planners are responsible for the safe balancing of cargo loads and drivers of tractor units are constantly changing and moving shipping containers in tight areas. The solution is also ideally applicable for routine or random testing on board, where difficult working conditions, remoteness from home and an often blurred distinction between being on or off duty can make drug abuse among staff an issue. The flexibility of the fingerprint drug test means that it can be used to test both crews and extended contractor networks to ensure compliance with Duty of Care obligations.

“With almost 1 in 10 UK workers admitting to recent drug use [1], and 16% of UK employers reporting that they have had suspicions about colleagues being under the influence of drugs [2], it is clear that drug misuse remains a serious concern when it comes to health and safety in the workplace,” said Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting. “The impact of drug abuse across the shipping industry can be far-reaching, whether it’s within passenger or container ports, or at sea where an individual’s drug impairment can impact not only themselves but also their fellow crew-members, passengers and people on other vessels. And with contributing factors such as long working hours, restricted social downtime and isolation from family and friends, employee drug misuse is a valid concern in the maritime sector. Our new fingerprint drug test will prove valuable for employers in the shipping industry, all of whom have a Duty of Care obligation to protect staff from the risks of drug abuse within the workplace.”

Fingerprint-based drug testing – how it works

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s end-to-end drug testing solution features a single-use, tamper-evident drug screening cartridge which takes just five seconds to collect a fingerprint sweat sample. The Intelligent Fingerprinting™ portable analysis unit then reads the cartridge and provides a positive or negative result on-screen for cocaine, opiates, cannabis and amphetamines in ten minutes.

Should a shipping industry employee’s initial screening test prove positive for any of the four drugs tested – in contravention of a firm’s drug and alcohol policy – two further sets of fingerprint samples are gathered for confirmation testing using the Intelligent Fingerprinting Fingerprint Collection Kit for Laboratory Analysis. Informed written consent is obtained from the donor prior to sample collection, along with a statement of the donor’s prescription medication, if applicable.

Once confirmation samples have been collected, the Fingerprint Collection Cartridges are sent in a tamper-evident security bag to Intelligent Fingerprinting’s partner laboratory for analysis. The laboratory then provides the customer with a quantitative laboratory result in the form of a Certificate of Analysis.

An introductory video demonstrating fingerprint-based drug testing in action is available here.

[1] United Kingdom drug situation: annual report to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) 2012. Department of Health.
[2] Synergy Health survey: survey of 200 medium to large sized covering approximately 26,000 employees (2014):


For media information contact Cheryl Billson at Comma
Email:  Tel: +44 (0)7791 720460

About Intelligent Fingerprinting

Launched in the UK in August 2017, Intelligent Fingerprinting’s portable Drug Screening System works by analyzing the sweat from a fingerprint sample. It is non-invasive, fast and cost-effective – screening for multiple drug groups simultaneously (currently amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates) with sample collection taking 5 seconds and results in minutes. A laboratory confirmation service is also available.  The system is currently available for forensic use only in the USA.

In the UK, the new technology is being marketed to the criminal justice arena, drug rehabilitation services, offender management, workplace and occupational health services. The technique has potential for many other uses including healthcare diagnostics and homeland security applications.

Founded in 2007, Intelligent Fingerprinting is a spin-out company from the University of East Anglia (UEA).  The company is based in Cambridge, England and currently employs around 30 people. Twitter @iFingerprinting

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