By Dr. Mallika Marshall

(CBS) – Breathalyzer tests have been around for years to help identify drunk drivers, but soon there could soon be a similar test for opioids.

Engineers and physicians at the University of California, Davis have developed a test that can detect opioids in the exhaled breath of patients taking pain medications like morphine and oxycodone.

They hope to eventually have a real time test which could help doctors and nurses determine whether patients with chronic pain are taking their medications properly, and also to check for illegal drug use.

The team is also working on similar breath-based tests that could screen for other conditions, like influenza infection in patients with flu-like symptoms.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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