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According to a new study by Dr. Yi Xiao, assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS) funded researcher, a new test for detecting and identifying illegal drugs in oral fluids may be superior to the current test widely used in the field by law enforcement.

Dr. Xiao’s research was recently featured on the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)‘s website. The FIU researchers, supported by an NIJ grant, developed a low-cost, portable, paper-based microfluidic device that can detect trace amounts of drug molecules in oral fluid with high specificity. The researchers focused on cocaine and methamphetamine as targets because those drugs are of particular interest in the health and criminal justice fields.

In addition to detecting cocaine, opioids, ketamine, and a variety of phenethylamine-based drugs, the device permits the user to identify drugs even in the presence of substances commonly used to dilute drugs, and distinguish drug samples from “common powders” such as aspirin, baking soda, and sea salts.

To learn more about Dr. Xiao’s research, read the full article from NIJ.