Beta Test: Taking the guesswork out of drug testing

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(Photo: Courtesy of CU Toxicology)
<p>A new drug test developed at the University of Colorado Denver can detect hundreds of drugs in a person&#039;s system. </p>

Photo: Drug TestResearchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have developed a new drug test that detect hundreds of drugs in someone's system.

Traditional drug testing only check for one substance.

The new test means doctors don't have to rely on patients' memories to determine all of the drugs a person takes. That's especially helpful for patients who are senior citizens, and may be more likely to forget.

It also helps in cases of addiction where people aren't willing to admit what drugs they take.

The test was originally developed because of steroid use in sports. Officials needed to detect the full spectrum of drugs that competitors were taking.

Blair Whitaker is with CU Toxicology and helped develop the test.

“A doctor said ‘Wait a second' -- this list of drugs is interesting in the sports arena but there’s an entire other area we test in medicine,” Whitaker said. “Pain management, drugs of abuse -- they’re all in this test already."

Several hospitals in Colorado, including the University of Colorado Hospital, are now using the test.