One in 10 people has traces of cocaine or HEROIN on their fingers, shocking study reveals


Drugs are now so prevalent that 13 per cent of us have traces of cocaine or heroin on our fingers despite never using them, a shocking new study has revealed.

The study, by researchers from the University of Surrey, aimed to come up with a definitive way to prove whether people with drugs on their fingerprints have used drugs, or were just exposed to them.

The researchers tested the fingerprints of 50 drug free volunteers and 15 drug users who testified to taking either cocaine or heroin in the previous 24 hours.

Despite having no history of drug use, the researchers found traces of class A drugs on 13 per cent of the drug-free volunteers.

Class A drugs (file photo)

Dr Melanie Bailey, who worked on the study, said: “Believe it or not, cocaine is a very common environmental contaminant – it is well known that it is present on many bank notes.

“Even so, we were surprised that it was detected in so many of our fingerprint samples.”

By setting a “cut-off” level, the researchers could distinguish between fingerprints that had environmental contaminants from those produced after genuine drug use – even after people washed their hands.

To test the possibility of transferring drugs through a handshake, drug free volunteers were asked to shake hands with a drug user, before their fingerprints were re-analysed.

Man and a women shaking hands
Results showed that both cocaine and heroine could be transferred by shaking hands

Results showed that both cocaine and heroine could be transferred by shaking hands.

But the cut-off levels set by the researchers allowed them to distinguish between drug use and secondary transfer.

Mahado Ismail, lead author of the study, said: “It’s clear that fingerprint testing is the future of drug-testing.

“There are many factors that set fingerprint testing apart – it’s non-invasive, easy to collect and you have the ability to identify the donor by using the sample.

“Our study will help to add another robust layer to fingerprint drug testing.”



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