Most narcotic substances are deposited inside the hair shaft in small, but at the same time detectable doses. This allows you to accurately determine even a single dose of a substance in a small amount that occurred several months before the analysis. The method for detecting narcotic substances by hair is the most reliable and widely used in Europe and the USA.. Hair drug analysis is used by most clinics, companies and organizations to monitor patients and staff.
Advantages of the hair drug analysis method:
- the ability to determine whether a person has taken drugs at least once in recent months,
- the ability to distinguish between chronic and single consumption,
- high sensitivity and reliability,
- ease of sampling.
Hair analysis allows you to recreate the chronology of drug use. Hair samples can be taken many months after taking the drug and with high accuracy to determine which month, which substance and in what dose was taken.
An important point is the possibility of taking samples even from a corpse, which is widely used in forensics.
Biological basis of the analysis for the detection of narcotic substances in the hair.
Accumulation of narcotic substances in the hair.
After entering the body, the narcotic substance is absorbed and enters the circulatory system. Each hair has its own blood circulation system, and substances that are in the blood, including drugs, fall into its structure. Once in the hair, narcotic substances accumulate in it.
Determination of the period of taking narcotic substances by hair growth.
Hair grows on average at a speed of 1 to 1.2 cm per month and serves as a kind of “tape” on which all the substances that a person took are recorded. If you take hair 3 cm long and cut it into three equal parts, then the part that is closest to the root carries information about all the substances that a person took in the last month. The second segment is about substances that entered the body in the previous month. The third segment will tell about the substances taken three months ago. By this principle, a picture of the intake of narcotic substances over a long period of time is compiled. If we take these three months in one period, then we can establish whether a person has ever taken drugs in the last three months.
Determining the maximum period during which it is possible to analyze the intake of narcotic substances depends on the length of the hair being examined. For analysis, hair samples (from 15-20 to 50-100 hairs) from the head or other parts of the body (for example: armpits) can be used, however, hair from the head gives the most accurate results, since hair from other parts of the body grows at a different speed and do not give an adequate assessment of the period during which the drug was used, although the fact of use will be established.
Rules for the selection of hair for chemical toxicological studies for the presence of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Hair is taken separately from the scalp in the form of a bundle in an amount of at least 100 hairs that are cut off at the root with scissors as close to the skin as possible. If necessary, hair samples are taken from other hair areas of the body. Selected hair samples are each placed in a separate envelope. Envelopes should be sealed.
Drug analysis procedure.
The sample is assigned a number. In vitro hair samples are treated with a special organic solvent that dissolves the protein stem of the hair and, in the process, releases the substances fixed in it.
The solution thus obtained is analyzed on a modern gas chromatograph / mass spectrometer, which has unprecedented accuracy in detecting substances in minute doses.
List of substances that can be detected when analyzing hair for drugs using mass spectrometry and gas chromatography:amphetamine, cocaine, methamphetamine, methcathinone, nicotine, extasy, heroin, methadone, morphine, cannabinoids. The list of designated substances is not final. It is possible to identify other rare drugs. Work is underway to identify new representatives of prohibited substances.
Thus, at present, this type of drug analysis is the most highly sensitive and selective in comparison with other research methods. Most current drug testing methods that can be used only identify a group of substances, such as opiates. They are not able to differentiate heroin use from codeinecontained, for example, in many antipyretic and antitussive drugs. The GC / MS method makes it possible to identify each specific representative of a group of substances, and not the group as a whole.
A hair test for drugs can help establish a person’s involvement or non-involvement in drug use over the past months. The diagnostic value of hair for drug analysis varies in each individual case. Hair grows on average at a speed of 1 to 1.2 cm per month and serves as a kind of “tape” on which all the substances that a person used are recorded. The longer the hair, the more over a longer period of time you can judge the possible drug use. For example, twelve-centimeter hair will establish the involvement or non-involvement of a person in drug samples over the past year.
Our laboratory offers drug testingby hair, which gives us the opportunity to say whether the person has used the studied drugs at least once for up to 3 months or more. Drug analysis - a necessary tool in the fight against drug addiction and its spread. Benefits of a hair drug test:
Determination of narcotic, psychotropic and potent substances in hair or nails (preliminary and confirmatory tests)
- The result of the analysis depends on the time elapsed since the use of the controlled substance. With the exception of marijuana metabolites, which can be detected within a few weeks after ingestion, a positive test result indicates the use of controlled substances in the previous 1-3 days. A test that is positive for morphine may reflect the use of morphine, codeine, or heroin (morphine is a metabolite of heroin and codeine). Heroin use can be confirmed by the metabolite of 6-monoacetylmorphine, however, this metabolite is determined only for a very short period (several hours after the introduction of heroin).
- The result of the analysis depends on the amount of incoming controlled substance. Passive inhalation of marijuana smoke does not lead to a positive test result.
- The result of the analysis depends on the frequency of use of the controlled drug. Irregular use of drugs is difficult to identify, regardless of the diagnostic method used. Therefore, a negative test result does not exclude the periodic (irregular) use of controlled drugs.
Hair analysis for drugs
Keratonized cells of already grown hair do not participate in metabolic processes occurring in the body. The narcotic substance that once got inside the hair shaft can remain there for an arbitrarily long time - until the moment when the hair is destroyed. Hair trimming and storage conditions for cut hair do not affect the test result in any way - the drug can be detected even after a long time after cutting the hair and even when storing the sample in conditions of high humidity, temperature extremes, etc. (of course, within certain limits, allowing you to save hair shaft integrity).
Rapid drug tests not only known substances are revealed, but also their synthetic analogues. For example, designer drugs (Spice, Mixes), which are widespread among young people, which are analogues of cannabinoids, can be detected in urine even several months after use.
Hair analysis: determine the content of trace elements in the body
Hair analysis according to the Skalnoy method, as well as some other diagnostic methods, are used for complex monitoring of the body condition. In this case, the study of the sample for the maintenance of certain microelements is only one of the stages, and the final result can be obtained only after passing a series of tests.
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After entering the body, the narcotic substance is absorbed and enters the circulatory system. Each hair has its own blood circulation system, and substances that are in the blood, including narcotic substances, are embedded in its structure (see Fig. 1). Once in the hair, substances from there can no longer get back into the circulatory system and are deposited in it forever.
DNA Drug Analysis in Moscow
Most often, such tests are resorted to by parents who have a suspicion that their child is using illegal drugs. Indeed, it is at school age that a person most often begins to use drugs, thereby showing his independence and adulthood. Schoolchildren undergo a voluntary drug test in schools throughout Russia. This eliminates the problem at an early stage. After all, drug addiction is a youth problem. Drug traffickers direct all their efforts to the young.
Take a drug test: saliva and hair tests
Drug tests are done at a specialized drug treatment clinic. Usually in a good clinic there are tests to choose from: urine, blood, and so on. Urine drug testing can be done on your own in a domestic setting. To do this, just buy an express test at the pharmacy and follow the instructions. Each type of analysis has its advantages and disadvantages. Not a single test provides 100% of information; various drug tests are indicative of different periods after use, so their combination can give a complete picture. The most accurate and informative, but also the most expensive, are analyzes of the hair follicles and the nail plate.
Types of drug tests
A urine test for drugs determines the fact of their use during the last three to five days. At the same time, there are types of drugs (marijuana) that can be found in urine 14-21 days after ingestion. This is due to the fact that marijuana is a fat-soluble substance. After entering the human body, it accumulates in its fatty tissues. Its release into the blood system occurs rather slowly, therefore, it is possible to detect it in the urine for a long time, even after a single use.
By the hair on the body, you can determine whether a person is using alcohol or drugs
In order to determine the presence of alcohol or drug addiction in a person, both body hair and head hair can be used. However, the most accurate in determining which substances a person consumes are the results of analysis of pubic hair, because they are most closely in contact with urine, which also contains the breakdown products of certain substances. However, to determine the period during which a person uses drugs or alcohol, hair on his head is better, because their life cycle lasts much longer than that of body hair (for details, see: Why is body hair short and long hair on the head?).
How is a hair drug test performed?
The fence of the material is not difficult - just cut off one hair from the head. Since hair is an appendage of the skin that is no longer involved in metabolic processes, the chemical that has got into it is stored unchanged. This explains the possibility of identifying drugs even after a few months.
The list of drugs that today can be detected in the hair is quite large. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry methods are used.