The Pentagon is really serious about the synthetic drug use in the military. Early this year, the U.S. Navy launched an anti-bath salts PSA. Meanwhile, the entire military is being sifted for potential entry points of synthetic marijuana and other similar illicit drugs within the ranks.
This time, the U.S. Army is doing their part, as its own research arm is planning to build a portable device that can detect synthetic drugs that are usually unnoticed in traditional drug tests. At present, there are no existing drug testing machines or devices that are handy enough to be taken into the field. If the device becomes available, it will spell a milestone as the first of its kind in the market today.
The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) aimed to address the lack of technology to catch synthetic cannabinoids, because these substances have threatened to destroy not only the well-being of its soldiers, but also the image of the Army. Project head scientist Dr. Mark Griep expressed the reason behind this, via Forensic Magazine. “There are hundreds of synthetic cannabinoid variants, so a sensor that detects one specific synthetic cannabinoid that is seen on Spice or K2 would be quickly outdated as these types change regularly,” Griep said in a news release.
ARL’s select team of scientists include Dr. Griep and Army senior research scientist Dr. Shashi Karna, along with fellow scientific investigators to come up with this breakthrough detection system. The plan will continue with an existing bio-nanotechnology project started by the Army and the Michigan Technological University about five years ago.