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Alternative drug test may find cocaine in fingerprints

New York residents may be interested in learning that a drug test may potentially be able to analyze any chemical traces that were left behind in a fingerprint to determine if a person had used cocaine. The technique, which was developed by research teams in the Netherlands and Britain, could be used as an alternative test to blood, urine or saliva testing.

According to a researcher involved in the study, a person who has taken cocaine excretes certain chemicals as their body metabolizes the drug. Mass spectrometry, which analyzes trace amounts of chemicals, can pick up the chemicals that were left behind in the person's fingerprints. The technique was reportedly accurate enough to determine whether the person had actually consumed cocaine instead of only coming into contact with the drug.

The ultimate goal is for researchers to be able to create a simple, portable test that law enforcement officers can use to test for cocaine use. Not only is this potential testing method non-invasive, but it could provide a test that is more hygienic. Further, the results cannot be faked due to the marriage of the chemicals to a unique fingerprint.

Those who have been accused of drug possession and distribution in New York could potentially be facing serious penalties, including fines, a prison sentence and probation. In some instances, however, a criminal defense attorney may find that the officers involved in the case did not follow the proper procedures or did not perform any tests properly, leading to a motion to dismiss. In other cases, a defense attorney may negotiate a plea arrangement that allows the client to seek help with a drug addiction as an alternative to incarceration.

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