Ultimate aim of BorderSens project is to enable highly accurate selective detection of trace levels of illicit drugs and precursors. But what are precursors and why are they so important in the war on drugs?
Drug precursors are chemicals needed to manufacture illicit drugs. As many of these precursor chemicals have legitimate uses they are not prohibited, but their trade is monitored and controlled through EU regulations, which schedule certain chemicals. For example, acetic anhydride, the precursor involved in the conversion of morphine to heroin, is also used for the conversion of cellulose to cellulose acetate, which is a component of photographic film and other coated materials, in the production of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), and as a wood preservative.
The availability of precursors and other chemicals necessary for drug production has a large impact on the drug market and on the production methods used in illicit laboratories.
By developing a portable, wireless single prototype device with the capability to quickly test for different types of precursors, with outstanding accuracy and reduced false positives and false negatives, BorderSens will contribute to the fight against drugs.
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