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An ultraportable, low-cost device invented by researchers at the University of Bath proves highly successful at detecting synthetic cannabinoids (SCs, e.g. "Spice," K2).
A device that lights up in the presence of illegal drugs soaked into paper or fabric is expected to be cleared for rollout across the U.K. within months.
The pocket-sized device is intended to detect SCs—a class of psychoactive substances used predominantly in prisons and homeless communities in the U.K. The drug can be fatal and often causes severe side effects, including psychosis, stroke and seizures.
The researchers hope that in its current format, the drug detector will be used to stem the flow of SCs smuggled into prisons and reduce the devastating effects on users of these highly addictive drugs. With further engineering, they are confident their device will be able to detect all types of synthetic drugs.