Author: Hannah Dineen
Published: 10:33 PM EDT September 14, 2022
Updated: 11:49 PM EDT September 14, 2022
BRADENTON, Fla. — A Bradenton company is fighting the fentanyl crisis with drug detection wipes.
Trace Eye-D developed the wipes last year, and also has created ones that detect cocaine and methamphetamine.
Trace Eye-D Director of Research and Development Barry Gorski, who invented the wipes, explained how they work.
"You simply tear the package open, pull out the wipe, and then I wipe the suspected area that I believe has fentanyl. And if it's positive for fentanyl, you'll see a change right away," Gorski said. "It turns a darker color and that tells you immediately it's positive for fentanyl."
It's called colorimetric technology. Trace Eye-D also makes wipes that detect cocaine and methamphetamine.
Barry argues it's simpler, faster, and safer than the established method for testing for drugs on surfaces, which requires collecting a sample and breaking a glass ampule.
"The glass from the ampule punches the plastic," Barry said. "Their tests contain hydrochloric acid. Now, guys are getting pricked with this plus whatever other chemicals they put in there."
The Palmetto Police Department has been field testing Trace Eye-D's wipes since January. Chief Scott Tyler said they've been effective so far.
"The results from the new Trace Eye-D kits have matched the established kits 100%," Tyler said.
That effectiveness, and the simplicity of the design, have led Chief Tyler to further invest in them.
"I actually think the wipes are a little bit more versatile we don't have to actually transfer test kit material into little pouches," Tyler said.
Trace Eye-D Founder Chris Baden said more area agencies are poised to test his product, which is a point of pride for the grandson of a former Manatee County sheriff.
"It's an honorable mission," Baden said. "This is something that will absolutely have a positive impact on the safety of first responders."
Trace Eye-D has plans to sell its products commercially one day, in your everyday drug stores.
Right now, LIVE Tampa Bay says the overdose rate in the Tampa Bay area is 10% higher than the rest of the state.