A recent development (check it out here) might lead the way to a quicker, more easily administered drug test. Instead of the lab analysis of urine, blood, or other fluids, this recent technology might allow first responders, such as EMTs, to assess a person’s exposure to drugs (prescription and otherwise) by simply dipping this device (think pregnancy test) into their saliva.
As of right now, the researchers have been able to demonstrate the success of the technology with cocaine, but it shouldn’t be too long before they can provide similar devices for many different drugs.
Now, it’s true that I usually focus on abused drugs in this blog, but this technology could help medical professionals identify dangerous drug interactions common to many prescribed, properly taken, medications. Given the huge increases in prescription medication abuse in the United States, that could be extremely useful and might save some of the 12,000 lives annually lost to accidental overdoses.
Maybe when these devices get cheap enough they can be used in addiction treatment centers to provide more immediate testing results.
Who knows, one day, the technology might be widespread enough to make home drug-testing a simple reality. Whether that’s a good or bad thing should probably be left to another post…