Largo Company Develops Kit To Detect Heroin Agent

Field Forensics, a developer of detection devices in Pinellas County, has created a kit that can detect acetic anhydride, a chemical used to turn opium into heroin. The kit known as IDEX 008 will be sold both domestically and worldwide, and could be used to aid the war on drugs and terrorism, especially in places such as Afghanistan.

"The kit will help eliminate acetic anhydride from being smuggled across borders into Afghanistan," says Craig Johnson, CEO of Field Forensics, Inc. in Largo. "The strangulation of the supply will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for heroin manufacturers to operate, which will strangle money supplies of terrorist groups using the heroin money to finance their activities.

The global trade of heroin is estimated to be worth approximately $55 billion, with the largest amounts consumed by Europeans and Americans. The company plans to target Afghanistan for distribution of its kit because it is the world's largest producer of heroin, with more than 90 percent of the world's opium gum.

  "There are currently UN and NATO efforts underway to get the kits into the hands of Afghan police and border guards, as well as at borders in other countries in the region," says Johnson. "We developed the kit with Afghanistan in mind, however, it can be used anywhere heroin is manufactured illegally or acetic anhydride is being smuggled. "

  While there are similar kits on the market, Johnson says most have not been implemented because of their inherent complexity. The IDEX 008, he says, is the first single-step test that can reliably detect acetic anhydride.  The standalone kit is carried inside a plastic tube, small enough to fit into a pant or shirt pocket. Inside the tube, the kit uses chemical reagents that can detect acetic anhydride, without the need for additional equipment.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Craig Johnson, Field Forensics, Inc.

Read more articles by Kimberly Patterson.

Kimberly Patterson is a news editor for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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