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Analytical and Practical Aspects of Drug Testing in Hair

2006 Edition, August 30, 2006

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-0-8493-6450-1
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2006 Edition, August 30, 2006
  • Published Date: August 30, 2006
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 396
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


"Where have you been? I can hardly recognize you," might be the greeting of a mentor to an infrequent visit from a junior colleague. This would have been very appropriate 25 years ago were hair analysis under discussion. Few analytical toxi¬cologists then considered hair as a desirable specimen for routine analyses. Some very few dabbled with Beethoven's or Napoleon's hairs, but they were the exceptions. Obtaining the samples was not the problem. These could be obtained easily. How to get acceptable results was the challenge.

The analytical techniques then in use (thin-layer chromatography [TLC], gas chromatography [GC], high-performance liquid chromatography [HPLC]) were quite adequate for their current use but were much too insensitive if hair was to be analyzed. The advent of immunoassays changed the analytical scene markedly. The increased sensitivity they provided made hair analysis feasible. Applying immuno¬assays to hair analysis soon revealed another limitation and deficiency. Although sensitivity became realistic, specificity was lacking. Creative investigators then recognized that the esoteric mass spectrometry (MS) that was coming into greater use could provide the desired sensitivity and specificity.

As practitioners developed expertise and funding became more available, they moved forward with hyphenated mass-spectrometric procedures — GC-MS, GC-MS/MS, and HPLC-MS/MS. Applying these techniques to hair analysis ensured the desired sensitive and specific results. The pursuit of zero began.

Routine analysis of hair became a reality when incorporation of automated sample-handling equipment became realistic. "Look, Ma, no hands!" was now commonplace. Few toxicologists recognize that this now-robotic procedure is a real threat to their professional existence.

As the technology of hair analysis has grown, so has its applications. Readers of this volume will find authors' suggestions that will resolve many questions. Has the patient been taking his medication? How often is this omitted? Are unborn children harmed when pregnant women use drugs? Does the use of drugs enhance an athlete's performance? Are females more susceptible to sex that might otherwise be unwelcome because they are surreptitiously given a drug? How do drugs affect criminals? When and for how long have drugs influenced work performance? Answers to these and ever so many other questions can be provided by hair analyses.

Very accomplished practitioners pass on their expertise to readers of this volume. Theirs is not the last word, but they do reflect the present state of the art, which is ever changing. Without a doubt, there will be progress as time goes by. However, it is comforting to have the easy access to the current status that this volume provides the reader.