A new product called DrugWipe is being touted as an alternative to urine tests for detecting drug use, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The device could give businesses, schools, probation offices, law-enforcement agencies and even parents a noninvasive way to conduct drug tests or to determine whether a drug problem exists.
A DrugWipe is a small applicator with a wipe on the end. The wipe can pick up invisible traces of drugs on almost any surface, including lockers, keyboards, door handles, sinks and cloth. It can also be used on individuals. A consistent user or handler of drugs excretes metabolites through sweat or other bodily fluids. When they repeatedly touch surfaces, metabolites build up. The wipe can detect the drug and identify it as one of four classes: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines or opiates.
DrugWipes do not violate privacy because the schools are testing their property, not the students, said one advocate. Another distributor recommended that schools test surfaces to determine whether there is a drug problem. If traces are found, the search can be narrowed to a single child. The firm estimated that it could test 25 percent of the property in a school of 400 students for $500. To provide urine testing for those students would cost $3,000.