New Breathalyzer Can Detect Pot, Cocaine and Meth | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

New Breathalyzer Can Detect Pot, Cocaine and Meth

Testing drivers for drugs other than alcohol could soon get much easier.


Breathalyzers get up to speed. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman


| Share

Breathalyzers could soon detect more than just booze on your breath. Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal in most states, but police have had no easy way of testing it, requiring a blood or urine sample in order to charge offenders—but that could soon change. Using a commercially available breathalyzer called the SensAbeus, scientists at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute were able to detect hard drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, meth and prescription medication. Researchers parsed tiny particles in the breath of test subjects using chromatography and mass-spectrometry techniques, allowing them to detect drugs accurately in 87% of cases, which is equally as accurate as blood and urine tests. "Considering the samples were taken 24 hours after the intake of drugs, we were surprised to find that there was still high detectability for most drugs," says lead author of the study Professor Olof Beck. "There is a possibility that exhaled breath will develop into a new matrix for routine drug testing and present an alternative to already used matrices like urine, blood, oral fluid, sweat and hair." However, the researchers are not yet able to detect the exact hour that a person last ingested a drug, which can often indicate whether is too impaired to operate a vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 18% of fatal car accidents involve drugs other than alcohol.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
An Audience with Gabor Maté

According to the rock star of addiction theory, every addict had a traumatic childhood whether they realize it or not.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv