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New test for psychotropic substance

According to recent studies, sexual assault with chemical submission of victims already accounts for 20.9% of cases.

The main drug used in these rapes is alcohol, although assailants also use other psychotropic substances, such as scopolamine (SCP), popularly known as devil’s breath, which is very difficult to detect because its trace disappears very quickly in the body.

A new test can detect the drug “in just 15 minutes”, according to the researchers who developed it.

The team designed a test strip containing a nanosensor loaded with a fluorescent indicator (rhodamine B) and activated by a molecular gate that responds specifically in the presence of the drug. The response of the test can be read using a mobile phone.

“All that is needed is a small sample of saliva or drink and to dip the strip in – if there is any drug present the level of fluorescence increases quickly, because of the release of the dye from the nanosensor.

“After 15 minutes a photo is taken with the mobile and compared with a sample that doesn’t contain the drug,” explained Eva María Garrido from the Universitat Politècnica de València.

In addition to the detection of SCP, the test can also detect methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).

Image credit | Shutterstock

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