Fingerprint test could detect cocaine use

Michigan residents may not have heard about a new fingerprint test that may determine if an individual has used cocaine. In addition, it can use a process called mass spectrometry to find out if an individual actually put the substance in his or her body or merely touched it. Doctors say that when an individual uses cocaine, the body excretes small amounts of benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine.

These substances can then be detected in an individual's fingerprint. Scientists say that the new drug test is less invasive, easier to conduct and cannot be faked because each person's fingerprint is unique. It is also hailed as more hygienic than tests that rely on drawing blood or using a person's saliva. The current goal is to create a portable test for use by law enforcement in the next 10 years.

This new test may eventually have an impact on people who are charged with drug possession or distribution. A conviction on such a charge may result in spending many years in prison. Those who have been so charged may wish to speak with an attorney in order to construct a defense that could result in the charge being dropped or a plea agreement being reached.

One defense to the charge may be to argue that the defendant was entrapped in the alleged purchase of drugs. It may also be possible to argue that witness testimony or a police report in the case contained factual errors. Finally, it could be possible to argue that a defendant merely touched a surface that contained drug residue. Touching such a surface could have resulted in a positive drug test that led to charges being filed.