Our drug screening device is currently in development.
Sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.

What's In a Fingerprint?

Whenever someone leaves a fingerprint they also set down traces of chemicals in their fingerprint sweat which, when tested, can reveal the substances a person has eaten, injected or inhaled.  


For example, when smoke is inhaled the chemicals within it are absorbed and processed by the body producing secondary chemicals, called metabolites.  Metabolites can be detected within a person’s sweat for many hours, and sometimes days, after the initial substance was ingested.


If someone has smoked a cannabis cigarette or taken other drugs of abuse, analysis of that person’s sweat – even the tiny amount in their fingerprints – can provide evidence of this activity long afterwards.


Watch our introductory video to find out more.

Our Drug Screening Technique

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s diagnostic technique screens for drug metabolites in the minute traces of sweat found in a fingerprint. Using a single fingerprint sample, one test screens for evidence of various drugs of abuse, currently:


  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates

The technique detects drug metabolites rather than the drugs themselves, so a positive result indicates that the person being screened has taken the drug and not simply touched a contaminated surface.


An image of the fingerprint is captured as part of the drug screening technique.   If required, this image can provide confirmation of personal identity in relation to the test result, minimising the risk of cheating or sample misidentification. 


The new technique has been incorporated into the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug screening device


Fingerprint sweat drug testing technology in development at Intelligent Fingerprinting

Proprietary Drug Screening Reagents

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s scientists have developed highly sensitive reagents for the detection of trace substances in fingerprint sweat. The reagents detect specified substances such as drug metabolites.


Our proprietary reagents can be formulated to screen for many more drugs than the four groups that are currently available.  This flexibility means our drug testing system can adapt to changing drug misuse patterns, and the requirements of different drug screening customers.

Pioneering Research

david lab3

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s drug screening technique is based on the pioneering nanoparticle technology research of our Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Professor David Russell of the University of East Anglia.


Professor Russell’s research, which has been published in leading scientific journals, is focused on the study of metabolites and their detection within sweat. Through his work he discovered that drug misuse could be detected through fingerprint analysis.

Future Opportunities

Intelligent Fingerprinting's non-invasive diagnostic technique may be used to identify other types of metabolites and chemicals found in fingerprint sweat.  Research is ongoing into a variety of new applications for our technology.