Hair testing for drugs of abuse
Karacic V, Skender L.
Institute for Medical Research and
Occupational Health, Zagreb, Croatia.
Coll Antropol. 2003 Jun;27(1):263-9


Hair testing for drugs of abuse is a developing technology, which offers the possibility of longer detection times than is commonly obtained with urine analysis. It is the main method for evaluation of an individual's drugs of abuse history. In many countries hair analysis is routinely used to detect drug abuse in forensic cases, occupational and traffic medicine and clinical toxicology. Hair analysis in pregnant women, neonates and infants is a useful tool for the detection of drug exposure in utero. In Croatia hair testing for drugs of abuse is performed at the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health. Three-year experience in drugs of abuse analysis in hair is described. In 331 hair samples (270 from adolescents and 61 from adults) opiates and metabolites, cocaine, methadone, and amphetamines were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Most prevalent drugs of abuse in adolescents were amphetamines, and in adults heroin. From the examples cited and samples analyzed it is evident that hair testing is emerging as a reliable biological marker for cumulative account of individual exposure to drugs of abuse.

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