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Handheld drugs test for parents

22nd September 2010

Scientists in Britain have designed a drugs test which can be used by parents to see if their child has been taking cannabis or cocaine.

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The Vantix biosensor is able to analyse saliva and return a result within five minutes. It costs £1.50 and may be on the market by 2012.

The device was originally designed to assist police in carrying out fast drugs tests on motor vehicle drivers.

The Vantix device has a 5mm chip embedded on plastic which has antibodies which react with certain chemicals, including the THC molecule contained in cannabis.

If these antibodies meet particular chemicals a small electric current is passed into the chip, which is sent through a bigger device to turn on a small light. This light alerts the user to the presence of drugs.

Kevin Auton, from Universal Sensors, said use of the device was bound to provoke some controversy.

He added: "In America, parents are taking samples of their children's saliva and hair and sending them off to labs to see if their children are taking drugs. If there is demand for it here, it would be an interesting market."

"It is controversial but the test can be used in the home for worried parents to test if their children are taking drugs. We are very focused on getting the test out of the laboratory and on to other platforms. It is as simple to use as a pregnancy test."

 

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