ESR and NZ Police today announced the development of a drug-screening solution which allows frontline officers, working in our communities, to carry out real-time testing of drugs using a handheld device.
NZ Police have collaborated with ESR in trialling the Lumi Drug Scan service which enables officers to test for the most common drugs on the streets using a handheld device, and receive almost instant results through their work-issued mobile phone.
The drug screening service can test for methamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine – three of the most common and harmful drugs on the New Zealand market. One of the biggest advantages of the Lumi Drug Scan service is that the device can screen through packaging.
NZ Police Superintendent Mike Johnson, Acting Assistant Commissioner: Investigations says we know the devastating and ongoing impact that harmful drugs such as methamphetamine have on our community. We also know how these drugs are often linked to organised criminal groups who prey on some of our most vulnerable members of society.
“The current drug-testing processes have limitations and as technology continuously improves, we need to look at ways to improve the tools available to frontline staff to ensure they are better informed at the scene and therefore able to make the best possible decisions in real-time.”
ESR Forensic Research and Development Project Manager Dion Sheppard says leading-edge and reliable science is critical in giving frontline Police new tools to carry out their job safely and efficiently.
“Our forensic scientists have developed a real-time drug screening service that utilises machine learning models enabling Police to screen suspected illicit drug samples in the field. The models have been developed using ESR’s extensive knowledge of illicit drug analysis covering the range of drug samples seen in New Zealand.”
A number of devices will be trialled for six months across Tāmaki Makaurau, in Canterbury and Central Districts.