The analysis of hair speicmens for drugs presents a unique advantage of being able to cover several months usage rather than days or weeks when comparing blood and urine specimens.
Hair locks in drugs that were ingested or have been contact with the hair. In fact, at the time of its growth, it will accumulate within the protein structure and one can tell an enormous amount data corresponding to our nutrition, our life environment and our activities. In very general terms, one centimetre of hair will represent an approximate one month time period of growth.
The recent techincal advances in equipment and knowledge in the detecation of substances allows us to detecte drugs and piosions with a gretaer sensitivity, precision and remarkable reliability and to attain concentrations from picograms (pg) to tens of nanograms per milligram of hair.
The simple and non-invasive sampling technique, easy preservation (in an envelope at ambient/room temperature) and its exceptional stability (not biodegradable biological matrix) means hair is an ideal matrix for the analysis of drugs and poisons.
The analysis we can do includes:
- Ethyl glucuronide, a marker of the excessive consumption of ethanol (alcohol)
- Markers of tobacco (nicotine, cotinine), distinguishing between active smokers, passive exposure or non-smokers
- Drugs of abuse (cannabis heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, mephedrone, LSD, etc.) and narcotics (buprenorphine, methadone, ketamine, tramadol, propoxyphene, etc.)
- Pharmaceuticals (cardiotropes, psychotropes, analgesics, anti-inflammatory, anesthetics, etc.)
- Sedatives (benzodiazepines, hypnotics, anti-histamines) or GHB to make obvious the administration of substances psychoactives in cases of drug facilitated crimes
- Drugs such as anabolic steroids (testosterone, nandrolone and their esters), corticosteroids, etc.
- Sexual stumulants (sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil, vardenafil)
- Heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, etc)
Click on pictures to see the Hair collection procedure
Isolate a lock of Hair at the back of the head just behind the crown. Tie with string approximately 1 centimeter from the root.
Cut the hair as close as possible to the scalp with a clean pair of scissors.
Place the hair in the correct orientation (i.e. cut end at the root side) in the tracing paper. Fold alond the dotted line. Place the sample into the envelope.
Seal the envelope with a self -adhesive and complete the remaining details on the envelope: Date of collection, collector and donor name, length...