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IUPUI researchers' device could change future of drug testing (2017)

INDIANAPOLIS -- With a single drop of blood, hospitals and law enforcement may soon be able to detect concentrations of synthetic illicit drugs.

Modern street drugs found on the market such as Spice and K2 do not show up in regular urine drug screenings, and people continue to overdose on them. The drugs usually are not detected until after a person dies or authorities intercept the transportation of them. One IUPUI professor and his team are working to change that.

Dr. Nicholas Manicke, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis chemistry and chemical biology assistant professor, has developed a cartridge that can test blood for these hard-to-detect compounds in a short period of time. The cartridge, about the size of a fingertip, separates the drug from the droplet of blood so it can be identified with a mass spectrometer, an instrument used to identify the kinds of particles present in a given substance.