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Home > On the relevance of cocaine detection in a fingerprint.

Jang, M and Costa, C and Bunch, J and Gibson, B and Ismail, M and Palitsin, V and Webb, R and Hudson, M and Bailey, M J (2020) On the relevance of cocaine detection in a fingerprint. Scientific Reports , 10 , (1) , p. 1974. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58856-0.

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC70051...

The finding that drugs and metabolites can be detected from fingerprints is of potential relevance to forensic science and as well as toxicology and clinical testing. However, discriminating between dermal contact and ingestion of drugs has never been verified experimentally. The inability to interpret the result of finding a drug or metabolite in a fingerprint has prevented widespread adoption of fingerprints in drug testing and limits the probative value of detecting drugs in fingermarks. A commonly held belief is that the detection of metabolites of drugs of abuse in fingerprints can be used to confirm a drug has been ingested. However, we show here that cocaine and its primary metabolite, benzoylecgonine, can be detected in fingerprints of non-drug users after contact with cocaine. Additionally, cocaine was found to persist above environmental levels for up to 48 hours after contact. Therefore the detection of cocaine and benzoylecgonine (BZE) in fingermarks can be forensically significant, but do not demonstrate that a person has ingested the substance. In contrast, the data here shows that a drug test from a fingerprint (where hands can be washed prior to donating a sample) CAN distinguish between contact and ingestion of cocaine. If hands were washed prior to giving a fingerprint, BZE was detected only after the administration of cocaine. Therefore BZE can be used to distinguish cocaine contact from cocaine ingestion, provided donors wash their hands prior to sampling. A test based on the detection of BZE in at least one of two donated fingerprint samples has accuracy 95%, sensitivity 90% and specificity of 100% (n = 86).


Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Cocaine
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
Date
6 February 2020
Identification #
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58856-0
Page Range
p. 1974
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group
Volume
10
Number
1
EndNote

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