Ghent scientists develop “revolutionary” test to detect designer drugs

Scientists at Ghent University have developed a new test that will detect drugs that until now could not be traced in blood, urine and saliva samples.  The test is being unveiled at the annual conference of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists.

A team headed by Prof Christophe Stove developed the test for designer drugs: drugs that have the effect of heroin or cannabis, but do not contain these substances. It is for traces of such substances in the body that conventional tests search.

The new test, described as “revolutionary”, doesn't look for traces, but for the impact drugs have on the body! The test is intended for use in laboratories and has already shown its worth.  Prof Christophe Stove's team worked with colleagues at Guy's Hospital and St Thomas's in London.  The hospitals provided 500 samples.  The Flemings were able to identify the samples that came from users.

Prof Christophe Stove: "Designer drugs are far more powerful than cannabis or heroine and are very dangerous.  We hope our test can help to combat them."