Bioanalytical procedures for detection of chemical agents in hair in the case of drug-facilitated crimes

Kintz, Pascal
August 2007
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Aug2007, Vol. 388 Issue 7, p1467
Academic Journal
The use of a drug to modify a person’s behavior for criminal gain is not a recent phenomenon. However, the recent increase in reports of drug-facilitated crimes (sexual assault, robbery) has caused alarm in the general public. The drugs involved can be pharmaceuticals, such as benzodiazepines (flunitrazepam, lorazepam, etc.), hypnotics (zopiclone, zolpidem), sedatives (neuroleptics, some anti-H1) or anaesthetics ( γ-hydroxybutyrate, ketamine), drugs of abuse, such as cannabis, ecstasy or LSD, or more often ethanol. To perform successful toxicological examinations, the analyst must follow some important rules: (1) obtain as soon as possible the corresponding biological specimens (blood and urine); (2) collect hair about 1 month after the alleged event; (3) use sophisticated analytical techniques (gas or liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, MS/MS, headspace gas chromatography); and (4) take care in the interpretation of the findings. Drugs used to facilitate sexual assaults can be difficult to detect (active products at low doses, chemical instability), possess amnesic properties and can be rapidly cleared from the body (short half-life). In these situations, blood or even urine can be of low interest. This is the reason why some laboratories have developed an original approach based on hair testing. Hair was suggested as a valuable specimen in situations where, as a result of a delay in reporting the crime, natural processes have eliminated the drug from typical biological specimens. While there are a lot of papers that have focused on the identification of drugs in hair following chronic drug use, those dealing with a single dose are very scarce. The experience of the author and a review of the existing literature will be presented for cases involving benzodiazepines, hypnotics, γ-hydroxybutyrate and various sedatives or chemical weapons. The expected concentrations in hair are in the low picogram/milligram range for most compounds. Hair analysis may be a useful adjunct to conventional drug testing in sexual assault. It should not be considered as an alternative to blood and urine analyses, but as a complement. This approach may find useful applications, but the definition of legally defensible cutoff values would require much more data. MS/MS technologies appear as a prerequisite in drug-facilitated cases.


Related Articles

  • Rapid Analysis of Drugs of Abuse by Liquid Chromatography and Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry. Zumwalt, Michael C.; Moore, Christine // LC-GC Europe;Dec2006, Vol. 19 Issue 12, p32 

    The article discusses the analysis of drugs of abuse (DOA) by liquid chromatography and triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. According to sources, the presence of DOA in oral fluids can be confirmed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) providing faster analysis than...

  • Rapid Analysis of Drugs of Abuse by Liquid Chromatography and Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry. Zumwalt, Michael C.; Moore, Christine // LC-GC North America;Sep2006 Supplement, Vol. 24, p14 

    The article focuses on the experiment of Drugs of Abuse (DOA) with the use of oral fluid (saliva) specimens processed through liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS). The process of a Agilent 1100 Series and an Agilent 6410 Triple Quadrupole LC-MS equipped with an electrospray...

  • Reducing Matrix Impact on Trace Analysis with GC--MS: A Simple Capillary Flow Technology "Tee" for Improved Backflush Efficiency. Prest, Harry // LC-GC Europe;Jul2008 Applications Book, p32 

    The article reports on the usefulness of capillary flow technology (CET) device, CFT Tee, in gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. As reported, CFT devices are microfluidic components that extend capillary GC capabilities through simple and robust connections between...

  • SHORT COURSES.  // LC-GC North America;Jun2007, Vol. 25 Issue 6, p596 

    The article presents several chromatography-related courses offered internationally from June until September 2007. A course on gas chromatography will be offered on June 4-6. A course on modern liquid chromatography techniques will be offered on August 21-24. A course on inductively coupled...

  • Determination of Estradiol in Plasma with Negative Chemical Ionization GC-MS/MS on TSQ Quantum GC. Schweingruber, Hans; Cha, B. C.; Ehtan Chan; Kefei Wang // Spectroscopy;Sep2007 Supplement, Vol. 22, p25 

    The article provides information on the methods use in the determination of estradiol in plasma with negative chemical ionization mode. It explains that the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method is capable of detecting femtogram levels in comparison with low pictogram levels of...

  • Gas and Particle Products Distribution from the Reaction of β-Caryophyllene with Ozone. Jaoui, M.; Leungsakul, S.; Kamens, R. M. // Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry;Jul2003, Vol. 45 Issue 3, p261 

    Gas and particulate reaction products from the ozonolysis of β -caryophyllene (I) in the presence of atmospheric air were investigated using a combination of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). A Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer...

  • SHORT COURSES.  // LC-GC North America;May2006, Vol. 24 Issue 5, p535 

    The article presents the schedule of various seminars and short courses related to chromatography in the U.S. as of May 2006. Techniques in Gas Chromatography will be held in Chicago, Illinois. The Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Training Seminar will be held in various states in the U.S....

  • Processing and purity assessment of standards for the analysis of type-B trichothecene mycotoxins. Krska, R.; Schothorst, R. C.; Van Egmond, H. P.; Josephs, R. D.; Lepschy, J.; Pettersson, H.; Chan, D.; Berthiller, F.; Schuhmacher, R.; Kandler, W.; Parich, A.; Welzig, E. // Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Aug2005, Vol. 382 Issue 8, p1848 

    The lack of reliable, certified calibrant solutions for the Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON), 3-acetyl-DON (3-Ac-DON), 15-acetyl-DON (15-Ac-DON) and nivalenol (NIV) is a serious drawback in the already problematic area of trichothecene analysis. For this reason, purified DON, 3-Ac-DON,...

  • Gerstel, Inc.  // LC-GC North America;2013 Corporate Capabilities, Vol. 30, p21 

    The article focuses on products and services provided by Gerstel Inc. It reports that Gerstel majorly deals in developing automated sample preparation and sample introduction accessories for several chromatographic systems which include gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography-mass...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics