Harrow Council will be helping more people overcome addiction after successfully trialling new fingerprint drug test technology

Intelligent Fingerprinting is a world-first technology which uses a portable device to analyse tiny traces of sweat from fingerprints. Within ten minutes, it accurately detects the use of drugs ranging from marijuana to heroin and more. It’s the kind of test that would previously only be possible by taking a urine or saliva sample.

The Intelligent Fingerprinting trial was undertaken by Harrow Council’s Children and Family Care service, in particular as part of a family safeguarding programme, which aims to help families stay together by beating drug abuse and addiction.

Cllr Christine Robson, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, said “As always our focus is upon the best interests of the children, young people and their families.

“For what we want to achieve, Intelligent Fingerprinting is better in every way than conventional drug testing. It allows people to prove they’re clean with no fuss, in ten minutes flat. Its low cost means we don’t have to think twice about testing, and it gives people the assurance and satisfaction of showing their clear test results right away.

“And if the results come back showing recent drug use, well that’s better for everyone too, as we can engage with the issue right away, together, which is one of the most important things we’re here to do.”

One of Harrow Council’s key roles is to encourage and support people to stick to drug-use custody conditions that have been established in court. That includes testing parents if there is proven knowledge or reasonable suspicion of them being under the influence of drugs when responsible for minors – potentially impacting their ability to care for children.

Parmjit Chahal, Head of Children’s Access at Harrow Council, said: “This technology works. It has helped us improve the success rate of people overcoming addiction while safely caring for their children. It works because it is an early intervention because it’s non-invasive and because it helps us build trust – parents who have engaged with it give us positive feedback about it.”

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting added: “The fingerprint-based test can be conducted on-site at Harrow Council’s offices, without the need for specialist medical staff or collection areas. We are delighted with the success of the programme and are now looking for ways to share our findings with other Councils.”


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