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Hair a Viable Matrix for Drugs of Abuse Investigations

04 March 2015

Drug residues in hair can be detected years after exposure, making it a useful matrix to forensic chemists. A new study determines that SLE is the most suitable extraction technique for drugs of abuse in hair.


The study performed by Arcadia University and the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, was recently presented at American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 67th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. 

The authors conclude that "SLE was determined to be a suitable alternative clean-up method for hair extracts containing drugs of abuse compared to traditional SPE methods. It can be seen in the results of this study that the SLE method of extraction provided better extraction efficiency than SPE for hair samples containing opiates and cocaine including its major metabolite. The biggest advantage of using the SLE procedure is a simplistic approach of three step, load-wait-elute, procedure that not only saves time, but also provides clean extracts with minimal solvent waste. Faster turn around time and decreased volume of solvents used could prove to be more cost effective than other extraction techniques."