Pubdate: Tue, 30 Oct 2007
Source: Maneater, The (Uof Missouri - Columbia, MO Edu)
Copyright: 2007 The Maneater
Author: Matt Schmertz


Soon inspectors might be able to detect methamphetamines with the
click of a button.

CDEX, a Tucson, Ariz.-based technology development company, is in the
process of developing a new device that will do just that.

Malcom Philips, CDEX president, CEO and chairman of the board, said
CDEX is revolutionizing the way law enforcement, schools, hospitals
and the home inspection market detect methamphetamines.

"Although we are a young company, we are addressing significant
problems in this country," Philips said.

In the development process, researchers were able to use new
technology to identify specific types of drugs using a handheld device
called the Illicit Drug Detector.

In order to make the device cost-effective, CDEX choose to target one
particular drug, methamphetamine, Philips said.

"Meth is potentially one of the most devastating drugs in this
country," Philips said.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, 11.7 million Americans
have tried methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine has become increasingly popular in Western and
Midwestern states, including Missouri.

"We have never had a bad methamphetamine problem in Columbia,"
Columbia Police Department Narcotics Unit Supervisor Sgt. Scott Young
said. "In the past year, we haven't had hardly any meth-related arrests."

Other parts of the state have a much bigger problem with the illegal
drug, which is one of the reasons CDEX choose to test its new "Meth
Scanner" in Missouri. Joplin, Willow Springs and Springfield are a few
of the cities in Missouri where the technology will be tested.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol tested the prototype, Philips

After receiving feedback from the patrol, CDEX adjusted the product
and released a second model. The company is now perfecting its third
model and hopes to begin internal testing in the next week, Philips
said. Before the device becomes available to the public, the company
will conduct independent testing.

"Our first goal is to make the device affordable and available,"
Philips said.

In the future, a filter that would allow the device to test for other
drugs, including heroine and cocaine, might be added. The company is
also considering eventually creating two versions of the device. The
primary device would have the ability to test for a variety of drugs.
A cheaper alternative would test for specific drugs.

The device could also have a significant impact on how law enforcement
officers search vehicles and homes, Philips said.

"Anything on the outside of a car, house or person is in plain view,
and if scanned positively for methamphetamine, could give at a minimum
a search warrant," Philips said. "If the search produces evidence, it
would be admissible."

After looking at the typical market for this type of device, which
includes law enforcement, schools and correctional facilities, CDEX
also evaluated other potential areas that could use the device.

Workers in health care, including first-response paramedics, could
test for methamphetamine, which might impact how a person is treated,
Philips said. Other areas of potential use include first-offense drug
users installing the device in their car, similar to drivers who have
Breathalyzers in their car.

"Our employees are passionate about what they do because we know that
we are making a difference with the work that we do," Philips said.
"We are making products that can save lives."
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MAP posted-by: Derek