Hair analysis is performed to determine drug usage, trends of usage, and evaluate persistent alcohol consumption, which can be a practical tool examining deaths caused by drugs or crimes facilitated by drugs.
Body hair follicles accumulate drug/drug metabolites, lodging into hair strands when they grow out. Residual analysis aids in assessing the amount of drug consumed over a period of time providing conclusive proof of isolated, regular, or acute drug use.
Whenever a new instrument is introduced into highly controlled environments, the equipment should be checked and calibrated thoroughly. Contamination produces artifacts within samples, which may invalidate analyses and result in erroneous results. Sample recovery and cross-contamination present the foremost issues, particularly for highly volatile analytes existing in trace quantities.
The Genevac® EZ-2 centrifugal vacuum evaporator accommodates large numbers of samples. ROAR Forensics assessed the Genevac EZ-2 system (Figure 1) as part of its evaluation process prior to introducing it into the lab using drugs of abuse (DoA) solution and hair alcohol marker (EtG) to assess the for cross-contamination. They also assessed the recovery of amphetamine that is known to be highly volatile.
Figure 1. Genevac EZ-2.
During the evaporation processes chosen for DoA or EtG, there was no trace of cross-contamination. The evaporation system could well be used to evaporate the SPE eluent comprising amphetamine, without any major loss. Likewise, the Genevac evaporation program applied for DoA also appears to facilitate excellent recovery of amphetamine.
Produced from materials authored by Dr. Eleanor I Miller and Dr. Simon P Elliott ROAR Forensics, Malvern, UK.
References and Further Reading
- Dri-Pure Sample Integrity Protection System. An Evaluation by GlaxoWellcome. Dr Martin Deal (1999), available via www.Genevac.com
- Society of Hair Testing. Recommendations for hair testing in forensic cases. Forensic.Sci.Int. 145:83-84 (2004).
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