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J.Health Sci., 57(6), 472-487, 2011


Analysis of Drugs of Abuse in Biological Specimens

Koichi Saito,* Rieko Saito, Yuu Kikuchi, Yusuke Iwasaki, Rie Ito, and Hiroyuki Nakazawa

Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hoshi University, 2-4-41 Ebara, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8501, Japan

Recent reports of the analysis of drugs of abuse in biological specimens are reviewed herein. Different perspectives from reviews so far published and the need for and the background of drug analysis in biological specimens, and difficulty of drug testing in biological specimens are introduced. Comprehensive biological specimens for the analysis of drugs of abuse in forensic science, including oral fluid (saliva), hair, umbilical cord, placenta, meconium, cadaver tissue (brain, adipose), sweat, breath, and nail clippings, in addition to the commonly used blood and urine specimens in clinical chemistry, are described along with their outlines, advantages/disadvantages, and actual examples. Today, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is the method of choice for the analysis of drugs of abuse. A simultaneous screening method for multiple types of drugs has also become popular recently. However, because qualitative determination remains important in forensic science, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is still in use even if it requires complicated specimen preparation and derivatization procedures. This is because GC-MS is reliable and has been employed ever since for the appraisal of trials.