Spectrum community drug treatment service uses fingerprint-based drug testing


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Spectrum community drug treatment service uses fingerprint-based drug testing

  • Enables a simpler, more agile approach towards monitoring opioid substitution treatment programs
  • Provides a dignified, non-invasive and hygienic test method that is well received by clients while also eliminating expensive clinical waste for service providers

Spectrum – a free and confidential drug and alcohol service in the UK run by Change Grow Live is now using the innovative Intelligent Fingerprinting drug testing system to support its clients’ progress towards recovery. Spectrum is focusing particularly on monitoring the effectiveness of opioid substitution treatment, where methadone or buprenorphine are prescribed as an alternative to illegal ‘street’ drugs such as heroin as part of a client’s personal detoxification program.

The test is fingerprint-based, taking less than a minute to collect a client’s fingerprint sweat samples onto a small drug screening cartridge and then just ten minutes to simultaneously screen for the opioid substitution drugs methadone and buprenorphine. The test also screens for benzodiazepines and opiates and is part of a range of Intelligent Fingerprinting testing products available to drug treatment service providers.

Spectrum provides services across Hertfordshire, England and is trialing Intelligent Fingerprinting drug screening at its Stevenage branch. Spectrum is the first drug and alcohol service to take advantage of the system to establish adherence to opioid substitution treatment programs.

Steve Smith, Services Manager for Spectrum at Change Grow Live Hertfordshire said: “Service users come to us for support in overcoming alcohol and/or drug addiction. To reduce dependency on illicit drugs and the harms associated with injecting, our doctors often prescribe orally-administered opiates such as methadone or buprenorphine as an alternative to street drugs like heroin. The new drug test from Intelligent Fingerprinting means that our clients can benefit from fingerprint sweat testing as an integral part of their regular medical reviews. Our focus here isn’t on trying to catch our service users out, but to monitor progress towards recovery and quickly identify when to offer additional support. With the new Intelligent Fingerprinting test we can establish adherence to treatment prescriptions, and the results can be discussed right away with a doctor as part of a client’s bespoke recovery program.

“Previously we used urine tests as part of these medical reviews. Alongside the obvious downsides of this method in terms of hygiene for Spectrum staff and our clients, as well as issues relating to user dignity and intrusiveness, there was the financial burden of clinical waste for our organization. We had a large monthly clinical waste bill for urine test disposal and could only carry out testing at locations equipped with biohazardous waste facilities,” added Spectrum’s Steve Smith. “In contrast, the Intelligent Fingerprinting method doesn’t produce any biohazardous waste and, due to its highly portable nature, we can now potentially test at more ‘non-clinical’ locations – enabling us to expand our service much deeper into the community. Another positive from the service user’s perspective is that a printed results slip is available from Intelligent Fingerprinting’s portable system. We’re finding that many of our service users are keen to keep the results print-out, as they can take it home and show their family and friends support network how they are making progress and adhering to their drug rehabilitation program.”

“With our new drug screening cartridge we’re responding directly to feedback from drug treatment providers requesting a combined screen for methadone and buprenorphine, so it is great to see Spectrum successfully using this cartridge,” commented Intelligent Fingerprinting’s Dr. Paul Yates. “As pointed out by Steve Smith, the system is portable and designed for use in a variety of situations including non-clinical settings as no biohazardous waste is produced – making it much easier for drug treatment program staff to set up screening sessions, collect samples and administer tests.”

Fingerprint-based drug testing – how it works

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s drug testing solution features a small, tamper-evident drug screening cartridge onto which ten fingerprint sweat samples are collected, in a process that takes less than a minute. The Intelligent Fingerprinting portable analysis unit then reads the cartridge and provides a positive or negative result on-screen for all drugs in the test in ten minutes.

In addition to the panel being used by Spectrum to test for methadone, buprenorphine, benzodiazepines and opiates, organizations can also benefit from Intelligent Fingerprinting’s other drug testing products which include a four-panel test for methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates and cannabis, as well as a laboratory confirmation service.

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

Please note: In the USA the system is currently available for forensic use only.


For media information contact Cheryl Billson at Comma
Email: cheryl.billson@commacomms.com  Tel: +44 (0)7791 720460

About Spectrum
Spectrum is a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults run by Change Grow Live. The service aims to help service users make and sustain the changes needed to reduce and, ultimately, stop drug and/or alcohol use. Spectrum aims to empower the service user to identify and realize their goals throughout their recovery journey, in order to live a healthier, safer life. Spectrum is run by Change Grow Live – a voluntary sector organization specializing in substance misuse and criminal justice intervention projects in England and Wales. All of its funding is statutory-based.

About Intelligent Fingerprinting
Intelligent Fingerprinting’s portable Drug Screening System works by analyzing fingerprint sweat. It is non-invasive, fast and cost-effective, with sample collection taking seconds and simultaneous screening for multiple drug groups in ten minutes. The system has applications within many sectors and customers include employers in safety-critical industries such as construction, transport and logistics firms, drug treatment and family safeguarding organizations, as well as UK coroners. The company has distributors across the globe, including the USA. In the USA the system is currently available for forensic use only.

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 employs around 30 people.
Twitter @iFingerprinting

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