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Methamphetamine Testing Moves to the Field, Saving Time and Money

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: March 2016 Pages: 7-9
Date Published
March 2016
3 pages
This article discusses the features and benefits of law enforcement agencies using a portable reader that tests for methamphetamine contamination in a specific location, eliminating weeks for lab testing and reducing costs.

The portable reader performs semi-quantitative lateral flow immunoassay testing. The Upper Sioux Police Department in Granite Falls, MN, recently began using this technology, and the police chief reports that his department has already realized significant savings in time and money. Meth is one of the more common drugs found in his jurisdiction, with that use concentrated in a particular housing area. The portable technology involved is likened to a pregnancy test in its simplicity. Anyone can learn to collect samples with minimal training. The collection and testing of samples does not require HAZMAT gear, and samples can be discarded like ordinary garbage. The swab samples are placed into a lateral flow cassette, where they come into contact with a liquid buffering agent, reacting with its antibodies. A control line and a reaction line are produced, and the shade of the reaction line indicates the intensity of the concentration. A second field test of an area identified as contaminated can show whether the cleanup has been successful. The technology produces results that have been statistically proven to be more accurate than conventional laboratory testing.

Date Published: March 1, 2016