How Airports Detect Meth
Methamphetamine, otherwise called Meth, is a potent and addictive illegal drug that can have severe psychological consequences for its users. The level of damage that Meth can potentially cause is what made countries strictly regulate its use. Attempting to pass the airport with this drug is risky, it can lead to jail terms and even capital punishment in countries like Singapore.
According to a report from Capital News Services, the United States’ border protection uses x-ray, spectroscopy devices, and trained dogs to detect Meth or other illegal drugs. The security protocol at US airports is so advanced that it is rare to scale through uncaught. Here is how drug detection works at the airport.
People make attempts to travel with contraband despite the stringent regulations available globally. The web analytic platform, Statista reported that 1 304 Meth violations occurred at the airport in 2019 alone. Border protection and customs work together to find luggage with unwanted materials, especially drugs. They stop these contraband with laid down government regulations and search techniques, such as mental evaluation, body scanners, explosive trace detection, and trained dogs.
Governmental regulations to discourage harmful drugs are generally strict, it may result in 10-48 months jail time in the US. There are trained specialists at the airport looking for signs that may give someone away as a criminal. They watch out for people who ingested drugs, look to smuggle things into the country, or may cause some explosion threat. In the US, travelers that raise suspicion of intoxication, drug influence, or any form of threat will not proceed to board the flight. Another popular restriction happens when travelers have liquid substances with them. In the airport, cream and gel are classed as liquid. A traveler can only go with them when they do not exceed 100ml and have been duly checked.
Airport officials use body scanners to find unwanted tools or materials wherever these things are on the body. A common body scanner is the millimeter wave scanner that performs a full scan on travelers with electromagnetic waves. It is suitable for detecting weapons, drugs, and materials in all forms without posing any health risk. Full-body scanners are becoming more safe and advanced, as travelers in some airports do not need to pull jackets off or empty the content of their pockets. Despite the health safety of the process, a traveler in the airport may decide to have the traditional hand pat down with TSA agents.
Another important round of check happens for explosive trace detection, it is also called swabbing or ETD for short. It is to make sure you or your luggage does not have traces of explosive materials or have not been in contact with similarly dangerous materials recently. To achieve the aim of this process, a trace detector captures volatile particles that products emit for analysis. If there is a suspicious capture, a sample of the area can then undergo IMS analysis, Ion Mobility Spectrometry. This analysis measures how long it takes the molecules of the suspicious substance to go through a special electric tube. Its drift time is then compared to standard drift time for contrabands to know if it is one of them or an actual false flag.
Detection dogs at the airport are not your ordinary household dogs. They are properly trained sniffers that know exactly what to look for and what not to mess with inside luggage. These canines are secondary security measures set to find unwanted substances, explosives, and other contraband. They can detect cash bundles, living animals, organic substances, gadgets, or other metals. Detection dogs are the real deal, and it is most likely that your bags went before the sniffing nose of these canines, they are that important in the security process. Trained dogs have thwarted attempts to launder money, smuggle pets on planes, transport organic matters, etc. Some advanced countries even train dogs to sniff out travelers with diseases like malaria.
The airport security is at an advanced stage, such that improvement is mainly to upgrade existing protocols and reduce the time involved for the overall check. It is quite understandable that a traveler may feel intimidated while undergoing the security process. This is probably part of the process to make people feel unsettled so that people carrying unwanted substances can lose their composure. It is also common for systems to raise false flags with substances containing nitrates and glycerin. But people who do not have anything to hide should keep calm and allow experts to do their work.