Tech

TruNarc helps agents spot illegal drugs with pictures alone

Drug busts are getting more technically advanced.

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Just as the smartphone in your pocket gets smarter every year, so do the security devices used by law enforcement agencies. WSAW-TV reports a select group of law enforcement authorities in Wisconsin is using a handheld device called TruNarc to identify illegal drugs within seconds, based purely on the illicit narcotics' visual profile.

Point and shoot — With TruNarc, which is said to be able to search a library of at least 500 controlled substances, agents can simply hold the machine against a bag of illegal drugs and be informed of what is (likely) inside the container or receptacle, along with other potentially useful snippets of information, like the details of the time and day of the scan.

Agents say that the process is a lot safer than wet chemistry — TruNarc does not require opening bags or containers and potentially exposing agents to lethal (or intoxicating) chemicals.

"We’re concerned about accidental overdoses when we’re processing, for instance, opioids and synthetic opioids," Kevin Kinnard, the director of Wisconsin's Brown County drug task force, told WSAW-TV. "It is an extra safety precaution for us."

Going beyond Wisconsin — The handheld device is still in the nascent stage of introduction and launch, but there is already high demand for the machine from law enforcement departments and chemistry labs around the United States. It may not take long before TruNarc is deployed by all law enforcement agencies, big and small, all over the country, assuming it can prove its mettle, that is.