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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Hair analysis has become standard practice for determining whether someone has abused illicit drugs. But some experts have questioned whether current methods to wash away external contaminants from samples might affect test results.

    Now one team confirms that for cocaine detection, a pretreatment step can cause the drug on the outside of a hair shaft to wash into it and potentially lead to falsely identifying someone as a drug user. Their study appears in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry.

    Testing a person's locks for evidence of drug abuse has several advantages over urine and blood analyses. Sampling is simple and non-invasive. And a person's hair provides a record of use over a long period, whereas body fluids can only provide a short-term picture.

    However, it can be difficult to distinguish drugs incorporated into hair because someone has taken them from drugs that externally contaminate a non-user's hair when he or she was in the same room as the substances. To address this uncertainty, testers wash hair samples to get rid of any potential external contaminants. Eva Cuypers and colleagues wanted to find out if this step could affect the results.

    The researchers followed standard procedures to wash off cocaine from non-users' hair. They then examined cross-sections of these samples and found that the drug had migrated into the hair shafts. The results suggest that current methods to decontaminate hair can have the opposite effect. The researchers conclude that this new insight could have implications for future hair analyses.

    The authors acknowledge funding from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek.

    The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.




    Eureka Alert/March 2, 2016
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/acs-hfc030216.php
    Graphic: drug testing solutions
    Newshawk Crew

    About Author

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

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