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Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Drug Detecting Device

It is fair to say that many drugs have a similar look and smell, especially when it comes to powders and liquids. When police find drugs on someone it often takes time for them to identify what the suspect is in possession of exactly. A new laser device allows authorities to identify drugs on site. Police across the country have been testing the device and it seems to help save time and money across the board.

The device is called the Thermo Scientific TruNarc and it looks like a game console, using a low power laser to identify different drugs. The device can scan small bags of drugs and gives police almost instant identification, according to the Associated Press.

Traditionally police have used chemical test kits to identify drugs. The drugs are placed in a plastic pouch that contains vials of chemicals. The officer breaks the vials in the pouch and shakes it, and checks to see what color the substance turns. Different drugs come up with their own specific color. Each substance has its own testing kit meaning police officers may have to use several test kits before they identify the substance they are testing. The officers must handle the drugs, and potentially could be exposed to them. Once an officer identifies a substance, it must then be sent to a state lab to confirm the findings, which could take weeks or even months causing delays in prosecuting cases, the article notes.

TruNarc employs the same scientific techniques used in the lab, the company says. The officer holds the sample bag against the device and presses a scan button. The device does a quick analysis and provides a result.

Each TruNarc device will sell for just under $20,000.

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