Law enforcement officials already use breathalyzers to measure drivers' blood alcohol content, but will they soon use the technology to test for cocaine and marijuana use?

Scientists from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute announced that they have found a method for detecting drugs in people’s systems, according to a new report. Using a breathalyzer-type device, they successfully detected the use of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine and prescription drugs like diazepam and buprenorphine.   

According to Phys.org, the scientists gathered samples from a portable device equipped with a mouthpiece and a micro-particle filter. “When a patient breathes into the mouthpiece, saliva and larger particles are separated from the micro-particles that need to be measured.”

The findings on this new research were published Friday, 26 April, in the Journal of Breath Research.

“Exhaled breath contains very small particles that carry non-volatile substances from the airway lining fluid," according to Phys.org. “Any compound that has been inhaled, or is present in the blood, may contaminate this fluid and pass into the breath when the airways open. The compounds will then be exhaled and can subsequently be detected.”

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