Want to make sure your kids aren’t making the same mistakes you did? It
may be getting easier. A British company has developed a cheap hand-held
drug testing device that in 5 minutes can enable parents to check, from
a sample of saliva, whether their kids are using cannabis, cocaine or
other illegal substances.
Universal Sensors Ltd, of Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, said their Vantix
biosensor technology could also be used by the police to carry out
roadside tests on drivers suspected of driving while under the influence
The company’s Commercial Director, Kevin Auton, told the press that they
realize the availability of such a device poses ”huge implications for
society”, reports the UK’s Daily Mail.
Auton said he wasn’t sure if parents in the UK were ready for this
technology, the “test raises privacy issues,” he added. Setting aside
the controversial issues, he said the test would enable worried parents
to check if their children are using drugs.
Auton explained that in the US, parents currently send samples of their
children’s hair and saliva to labs for drugs testing. If there is a
similar demand in the UK, it could be an interesting market, he added.
“It’s as simple to use as a pregnancy test,” he said, explaining that
the company can produce 30 billion biosensors a year, so it would be
cheap to buy. He added that the company was “very focused on getting the
test out of the laboratory and onto other platforms”.This means the
device could be on the market in about two years time and selling at
around £1.50 a test (about 2.30 US dollars). The device would be about
the size of a small mobile phone, into which one inserts a cartridge
containing a disposable 5mm wide chip and the saliva sample.
The chip has antibodies impregnated into its surface that react to
certain metabolites of drugs, for instance the THC molecule in cannabis.
When the chip detects such a chemical it produces a small electric
current, which is amplified in the handheld device and turns on a