Move over Breathalyzer - Here comes the Potalyzer

Every driver, young or old, knows how important breath test results can be. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over and asks you to blow into a Breathalyzer device, you know that your freedom is on the line. The results of the breath test will likely play a key role in whether you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or not.

Now, however, the Breathalyzer isn't the only roadside testing device to fear. The "Potalyzer" is about to appear on the scene. Stanford University researchers have developed a way to use magnetic nanotechnology to screen drivers for marijuana intoxication. This new technology measures the level of THC (the most powerful agent in marijuana) in an individual's saliva.

Before, law enforcement had to use laboratory blood or urine samples to obtain a THC reading. The Potalyzer provides a convenient, portable way to obtain the same results.

All You Have To Do Is Spit

Theoretically, all you would have to do is spit into a collection cup of some kind. Then, the officer would use a cotton swab to dab up some of the saliva and mix it with certain THC antibodies. Next, special magnetic nanoparticles would be added. Finally, the officer would place the sample on a chip cartridge and insert it into a special reader.

The results should be available to view on the officer's laptop or smartphone in about three minutes.

Marijuana Isn't The Only Drug It Can Detect

With 80 different sensors in the device's biosensor chip, it could potentially be used to test drivers for a wide array of other drugs. No longer would the police have to wonder if you're driving high on heroin, cocaine or another illegal substance - they could simply take a saliva sample.

What Happens Now

Before you'll actually have to worry about meeting the Potalyzer on the road, it needs to go through detailed field testing. It also needs to be approved by the appropriate regulatory agencies.

In the meantime, remember that regardless of the testing devices available to the police, the results may potentially be thrown out of court if certain conditions apply. The best way to defend yourself if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving or drugged driving is to get an experienced lawyer on your side right away.

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