REPORT: New "Breathalyzer" Can Detect Cocaine Within Minutes

Before we begin, it should be hammered into your head by now that you should never drive impaired or under the influence drugs. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just had a bump, or a dip, or a toke, or a tab, or whatever – driving impaired is not safe – ever.

A new device developed by the University Buffalo has been shown to detect cocaine within minutes after testing. The innovation is thanks to a new low-cost microchip that costs about 10 cents to make, and can be modified to detect a variety chemicals.

“Currently, there is a great demand for on-site drug testing,” said Qiaoqiang Gan, associate pressor electrical engineering in the University at Buffalo School Engineering and Applied Sciences. “The high-performance chip we designed was able to detect cocaine within minutes in our experiments.”

Gan and colleagues are hopeful that the same technology can be applied to other drugs such as marijuana and opioids in the future.

The technology behind the device itself, Surfaced Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, is not new. However, the low cost the device’s internal components make it prime for mass production, and University Buffalo wants to get it into the hands police.

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