Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

CGL will pilot Intelligent Fingerprinting system to support drug recovery programmes

CGL will pilot Intelligent Fingerprinting system to support drug recovery programmes

15 March 2017

Change Grow Live (CGL) is to pilot the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug screening system as part of its support and rehabilitation initiatives for service users and families affected by drug misuse. The non-invasive drug screening system from Intelligent Fingerprinting is easy to use, and will enable CGL to determine in minutes if a client has recently used any of the four drugs in the test – amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates. The Intelligent Fingerprinting solution detects drug use by analysing chemicals, known as metabolites, contained in the minute traces of sweat found in a fingerprint sample.

In comparison with traditional testing procedures involving saliva or urine, fingerprint sample collection takes only a few seconds and is dignified and hygienic, making it particularly convenient for organisations such as CGL as there is no need for specialist collection facilities or biohazardous waste disposal. CGL conducts regular drug tests as part of its ongoing rehabilitation activities, however the cost and complexity associated with traditional collection methods has been a barrier to widespread adoption. The initial Intelligent Fingerprinting system trial is taking place at a CGL clinic in East Anglia where early user engagement has been very positive and the volume of tests has been high. 

According to CGL’s Medical Director Dr Prun Bijral:

"We are a social care and health charity, and an important part of our work involves providing our clients with the support needed to help maintain recovery and reduce the possibility of a relapse. Having visibility of the client’s progress and whether or not they have used drugs recently is critical in determining how we tailor our programme to support each individual.

“The Intelligent Fingerprinting system is an interesting proposition for our therapeutic environment, as testing doesn’t have to be carried out in a clinical setting,” continued Dr Bijral. “Overall we think that the system will make it much easier to set up screening sessions, collect samples, administer tests and get results. This flexibility means we can operate from within a broad range of venues – such as community centre clinics – and provide drug rehabilitation services close to the people who need our support. We previously helped Intelligent Fingerprinting source sample collections while the system was in development, so it is great that we are now extending the relationship to a new pilot. During our early tests we’ve had positive feedback from both our counsellors and service users. The process of collecting fingerprint samples has been very easy and dignified – especially in comparison with urine samples or using oral swabs. In my view this is the most important benefit; the approach is respectful of our clients, and will help reduce some of the concerns people may have about entering treatment.”

Dr Paul Yates, Business Development Director at Intelligent Fingerprinting added:

“This is an excellent environment for our drug screening system – less invasive for service users, easy for non-medical specialists to use, and results are delivered within minutes. We’re initially piloting our solution at one of CGL’s clinics in the East Anglia area, and we’re then planning to roll the drug screening system out to other regions. We will work closely with CGL to monitor feedback from both a drug screening commissioner, and drug test administrator perspective, as well as assessing how CGL’s clients view the system.”

The company’s innovative fingerprint-based drug screening system consists of a novel, four-panel test cartridge and the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting Reader 1000 analysis instrument. Together these have the potential to be used anywhere, any time to support a range of applications including drug rehabilitation programmes, tackling drug use in prisons, police initiatives such as roadside testing for drug driving, coroner services, as well as establishing fitness for duty in safety critical workplaces such as the transport and construction industries. Pilots are currently taking place in preparation for the product becoming commercially available.

A video explaining how the system works is available here. More details about Intelligent Fingerprinting can be found on their website at