Airport and Police security forces are getting smarter every day, and so are police dogs. So if you are wondering: can drug dogs smell MDMA? The answer is yes, some of them have been trained in recent years to smell MDMA. Learn more about it here.
Drug dogs play an important role in law enforcement. Detecting drugs is quite challenging for human beings because we need to see where drugs are hidden physically. We cannot use the sense of smell to detect it.
A dog has a powerful sense of smell and possesses nearly 300 million olfactory receptors compared to six million in human beings. Even dogs are always attracted to new and exciting odors.
That is why police forces worldwide, including the United States, use dogs to track criminals or detect explosives and drugs, especially in garbage and belongings. A drug dog can pinpoint where the drugs are hidden and alert officers.
So, can drug dogs smell MDMA? Yes, they can smell MDMA, but they need training for a few months. In this article, I will discuss several questions related to drug dogs, how they smell illegal drugs, how they are trained to do so, and what all they can smell. So, keep on reading the article for more information.
What Is MDMA?
MDMA(3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a psychoactive drug commonly used for recreational purposes. It is also widely known as Ecstasy or Molly. MDMA is illegal in most countries including the United States, but still, some people try to use it for recreational purposes.
MDMA is commonly sold on the streets. It is a hallucinogenic drug that is available in both powders and capsule form. The pure form of Molly has an odor similar to sweet black licorice.
If an individual overdoses on MDMA, his body may get overheated, leading to kidney or liver damage or muscle breakdown. MDMA may also cause seizures, brain swelling, or even death.
Can Drug Dogs Smell MDMA?
Drug dogs can smell anything, but they need training for a few months. For instance, a study in 2019 showed that dogs could pick out blood samples of people with cancer with 97 percent accuracy. If a dog can sniff out cancer cells, he can smell MDMA and other illegal drugs.
Most drug dogs are trained to smell MDMA. However, it depends on the nature of training that the dog has undertaken during a specific period. For instance, some dogs are trained to detect only particular drugs.
For example, if a drug dog is trained to smell marijuana, then he can detect it regardless of how hard it wraps. Similarly, if they undergo training to smell MDMA, they can smell it anyhow.
MDMA has a peculiar smell, and humans can detect it when they are very close to it. But people usually wrap MDMA and other illegal drugs inside a gasoline barrel, vacuum-sealed bags, or in any plastic container, which becomes challenging for a human being to detect.
But, the smell of the MDMA seeps through the microscopic holes in the plastic container, and the drug dogs are so trained that they detect it.
How Are Dogs Trained To Detect MDMA And Other Illegal Drugs?
Most people think that dogs search for hidden illegal drugs because they want to eat them. But dogs don’t actually have any interest in MDMA and other drugs.
The drug dogs are actually looking for their favorite toy. The training has led them to associate it with a toy that smells like drugs.The toy most used during training is a white towel so that it can be cleaned and used again and again.
Introducing A Plain White Towel
Drug dogs love to play tug of war with their favorite white towel. The trainers first train the dogs with their favorite towel. It should be adequately washed and has no smell of its own.
Later a bag of MDMA is rolled inside the towel, and the trainer plays with the dog. After some days, the dog starts to recognize the scent of MDMA as the smell of his toy.
Playing Games With It
The trainer then hides the towel with MDMA in various places and commands the dog to search for MDMA.
If the dog sniffs MDMA, he will dig and scratch and try to get his favorite toy. The dog quickly learns that if he sniffs the drug smell, he gets rewarded with a game of tug of war.
During training, different drugs are introduced into the towel, and dogs are taught to sniff out other illegal drugs. Drug dogs usually take 4-6 months to be fully trained to detect various drugs, including MDMA.
What Dogs Can Detect MDMA?
However, it can vary depending on the breed of the dog. For instance, German Shepherd dogs usually take longer to get thoroughly trained and detect MDMA and other illegal drugs compared to other breed dogs.
What Do Drug Dogs Do When They Smell MDMA?
Detection usually starts their training when they are in the puppy stage, i.e., 7 to 8 weeks old. Trainers teach puppies a reward system, i.e., they are rewarded with toys if they successfully detect the presence of any drug like MDMA.
The drug dogs are trained to be subtle if they detect MDMA drugs. They are trained not to go crazy after detecting drugs. If the dog goes crazy, he may bite or scratch the person or damage his belongings. It will give the individual a reason to escape from the police forces.
Drug dogs are trained to alert police officers in two ways, i.e., passively and aggressively. Sometimes the dog will sit or lie down where the MDMA smell is coming. It is a passive way of alerting officers that he has detected MDMA or any other illegal drugs.
The drug dog may scratch or dig at a particular place where the MDMA smell comes from without damaging the personal property. It is an aggressive way of alerting police officers that he has detected MDMA or other drugs.
Dogs are more commonly trained for passive alerts because it has fewer chances of damaging property or possessions.
Do Airport Drug Dogs Smell MDMA?
Many people from all over the world can be found at airports. So drug dogs at airports are usually trained to detect MDMA.
However, you cannot say all the dogs present at the airport are trained to detect MDMA. Some dogs are trained to detect explosives at the airport and not drugs.
Can Police Dogs Smell Acid?
LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is usually available in liquid form and is entirely odorless. So, most police dogs find it hard to detect LSD.
However, if the dog is specially trained to hunt LSD and acid tabs, he can detect it by smelling the odor of chemical impurities.
A police sniffer dog usually can detect 3-5 drugs. Law enforcement typically targets the drugs that create problems in a specific area, and accordingly, they train dogs.
Drugs That Sniffer Dogs Are Trained To Smell
I am listing below a few drugs that sniffer dogs can smell.
- MDMA – It is a psychoactive drug.
- Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that can be used for medical and veterinary practices.
- Marijuana – It is the crumbled part of the marijuana plant. The plant consists of chemicals that can act on your brain and change your mood. It can make you irritated, anxious, or you may have trouble sleeping.
- Heroin is a white or brown powder or black sticky goo and is well known for its euphoric effects. An individual can have significant health problems like having heart disease or miscarriage, which may even lead to death if he takes heroin regularly.
- Cocaine -It is a white powder derived from the coca plant’s dry leaves.
- Methamphetamines -A stimulant or a type of drug that allows you to stay awake and do continuous activity with less need for sleep.
- Xanax – It is used for treating anxiety and panic disorder.
- LSD – Lysergic acid diethylamide can dilate pupils, increase blood pressure and body temperature. The effect of LSD starts after half an hour and lasts for 20 hours.
- Adderall is a stimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD).
- Amphetamine – It is used for treating ADHD, obesity, and narcolepsy.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. Can a drug dog sniff out nicotine?
Yes, they can.
A drug can sniff out nicotine, tobacco, and cigarettes. However, the reaction to nicotine may differ from one drug dog to another. If the drug dog has received training to detect nicotine, he will detect it irrespective of how hard it wraps.
#2. Are drug dogs smart enough to smell drugs that are inside your body?
Yes, they can.
Yes, dogs’ noses are so sensitive that they can detect drugs like Marijuana or MDMA in your clothing up to 15 feet away.
#3. Can drug dogs smell Xanax?
Yes, they can.
Xanax is used for treating panic and anxiety disorders. A trained drug detection dog uses his powerful sense of smell to detect where drugs like Xanax are hidden.
#4. Can drug dogs smell vapes?
Yes, they can.
Yes, a drug dog can smell vapes. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell compared to human beings, enabling them to smell even the faint scent of a substance.
However, the reaction to the sense of smell may differ from one dog to another. For instance, if the dog is trained to smell or react to THC, then he will respond if there is a slight presence of the chemical in your vaping pen.
Similarly, if the vaping contains nicotine, he will react to it if trained to detect or smell nicotine.
#5. Can drug dogs tell if you are high?
Yes, they can.
Yes, a drug dog can easily tell when you are high or intoxicated. The smell may not be noticeable to another human being. But a drug has 10,000 times more sensing capacity than a human being.
A few Final Words
Drug dogs are trained to detect their sense of smell in detecting various drugs, including MDMA, and alert police officers. However, the dogs who have not undergone training may sniff something unusual but cannot react the same way as a trained MDMA drug dog.
Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to cover all the topics. If you have further doubts about drugs or other things that sniffer dogs can figure out, please write to us in the comments. You might also want to read: Can Dogs Smell Mushrooms?