Abbott, Intoximeters partner on roadside drug test

2019 08 15 18 10 0915 Police Cars Emergency 400

Breath alcohol testing products company Intoximeters is set to market Abbott's SoToxa oral fluid point-of-care test, which screens for the recent use of six types of drugs: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates.

The SoToxa mobile test uses a swab from the mouth, cheek, and gums, and results are available within five minutes, according to Abbott. The company is positioning the product as a more convenient alternative to blood testing.

St. Louis-based Intoximeters has an exclusive distribution deal and plans to sell Abbott's test along with its own line of handheld Alco-Sensor breath alcohol tests to U.S. law enforcement agencies. In a statement about the partnership, Abbott cited a report from the U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) that flagged marijuana and opioid use while driving as a critical issue and urged states to take action. Drugged driving is increasingly common: Drugs were found in the systems of 44% of tested drivers killed in crashes in 2016, up from 28% a decade earlier, according to the GHSA.

"Marijuana and opioid use affect driving and can cause crashes," the GHSA noted. "State highway safety offices are concerned: In a survey, virtually all said drugged driving is a problem and the majority rated it equal to or more important than driving while impaired by alcohol."

The SoToxa test was formerly called the Alere DDS2 mobile test system; Abbott closed its acquisition of Alere in 2017. SoToxa is part of Abbott's rapid diagnostics division, which also includes point-of-care molecular tests for flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as the Afinion 2 platform for cardiometabolic testing.

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