Draeger Medical (Lübeck, Germany) presented to medical personnel the one-two punch it has developed for law enforcement in the field of roadside testing – the Draeger DrugTest 5000-med and Draeger AlcoTest 6810-med roadside tests.

The accent is on the "med" application, as Draeger has slightly modified its products and recertified them both for the emergency department where arriving patients can be on drugs or alcohol or both.

Of every 100 people admitted to ER, 15 are on some drug of abuse, according to a product manager with Draeger, who added that a definitive study currently being conducted at Charité Hospital in Berlin will be reported in February 2009.

For the alcohol test, patients are asked to breathe into a small tube as in the roadside test.

The tube is then mounted on Draeger's hand-held AlcoTest 6810-med device, which rapidly delivers a quantitative reading of the blood alcohol level.

Pointing the device at the Draeger-supplied printer, the ER staff can pull documentation to include with the patient record, or download the results with a USB port and input the data directly into a treatment record.

For those patients too far gone upon arrival at ER, passed out or otherwise incapable of blowing into the tube, the ER personnel need only wave the Draeger hand-held device within a few inches of the person's face to obtain a positive-negative indication of alcohol from skin pores or exhaled breath.

In contrasts to the alcohol test, the Draeger DrugTest 5000-med analyzer is a table-top device, or in the case of law enforcement, a patrol car-mounted device, about the size of a kitchen counter espresso machine.

A saliva swab is inserted into a cartridge that contains six slim test strips which over a period of 10 minutes are pulled mechanically by the device past the saliva sample.

The analyzer returns only a positive-negative result with a cut-of threshold at 20 monogram per milliliter, which is stricter than the British Home Office cut-off threshold of 50 µg/ml.

The drug test was released through Draeger's Safety Division May, and the product manager said he knew that 30 units were sold for patrol cars for the Thüringen police and 100 units were ordered by police in NordRhein Westphalia.

Testing of the drug device is under way in German hospitals currently ahead of commercial release next year and according to the product manager 16 hospitals have expressed an interest.

– John Brosky, European Editor