Variability Associated with Interpreting Drugs within Forensic Hair Analysis: A Three Stage Interpretation

Davies, Christopher, Gautam, Lata, Grela, Agetha and Morrissey, Joanne (2020) Variability Associated with Interpreting Drugs within Forensic Hair Analysis: A Three Stage Interpretation. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 40 (7). pp. 868-888. ISSN 1099-1263

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Hair analysis is capable of determining both an individual's long‐term drug history and a single exposure to a drug, which can be particularly important for corroborating incidents of drug‐facilitated crimes. As a source of forensic evidence that may be used in a court of law, it must be credible, impartial and reliable, yet the pathways of drug and metabolite entry into hair are still uncertain. Many variables may influence drug analysis results, most of which are outside of the control of an analyst. An individual's pharmacokinetic and metabolic responses, hair growth rates, drug incorporation routes, axial migration, ethnicity, age and gender, for example, all display interpersonal variability. At present there is little standardization of the analytical processes involved with hair analysis. Both false positives and negative results for drugs are frequently encountered, regardless of whether a person has consumed a drug or not. In this regard, we have categorized these variables and proposed a three‐stage analytical approach to facilitate forensic toxicologists, hair analysis experts, judiciaries and service users in the analytical and interpretation process.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: axial migration, data interpretation, drug‐facilitated sexual assault, drug hair analysis, hair growth rate, segmental analysis
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2020 16:51
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 14:40

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