San Francisco PD tests device that can detect fentanyl in saliva By:

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By Joanna PutmanPolice1

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SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Police Department will soon deploy a drug testing device that tests for fentanyl and other drugs in saliva, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is intended to assist in public intoxication arrests, according to the report. The move comes as a part of a yearlong effort to combat the city’s open-air drug markets.

The Dräger device, which tests saliva samples for several different, is already in use for DUI investigations, according to the report. Ryan Kao, director of the SFPD’s Crime Strategies Division, led discussions with Dräger, persuading the company to develop a prototype specifically for detecting fentanyl.

San Francisco police, already contracted with Dräger for other testing purposes, will be the first to field-test the prototype, according to the report. The device operates with a handheld unit and an analyzer, which processes saliva samples to detect eight types of drugs: fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, methadone, benzodiazepines like Xanax and ketamine. Officers must receive consent before administering the test, similar to procedures in DUI cases.

Kao acknowledged that the new system could lead to more arrests but emphasized its role in providing objective evidence for officers, which can be difficult to obtain in public intoxication arrests.

“In an age where we have so much more scrutiny on our officers, this allows them to say, ‘You know what? I’m not just making it up. I have something that’s scientifically backed,’” Kao said.

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