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Bio-analysis of forensically relevant drugs in alternative matrices by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Wednesday, 20 June, 2007 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Health Campus
Faculty: Medicine and Pharmacy
auditorium P. Brouwer
Marleen Laloup
phd defence

Cannabis is the most frequently detected illicit
drug in the Western world, e.g. in cases of
driving under the influence of drugs (DUID),
whereas benzodiazepines comprise the mostabused
licit drugs and have been linked with
drug-facilitated sexual assault cases (DFSA). In
recent years, remarkable advances in sensitive
analytical techniques have enabled the analysis
of drugs in alternative matrices such as oral fluid
and hair. These specimens allow easy, noninvasive
sampling, which can be achieved under
close supervision to prevent adulteration or
substitution of the samples. The volume is often
limited and to reach the required analytical
sensitivity, liquid chromatography-tandem mass
spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) methods for the
detection of cannabis and benzodiazepines in oral
fluid and hair were developed. After validation,
these methods were applied to authentic samples
to assess: (a) the validity of oral fluid to detect
recent cannabis consumption, (b) the Dräger
DrugTest as an on-site oral fluid test, and (c) the
applicability of hair testing in forensic cases. The
latter led to new insights into metabolic
conversions between benzodiazepines. These
insights may help avoid potentially erratic
conclusions regarding DFSA. Finally,
benzodiazepines are also frequently encountered
in post-mortem cases. An LC-MS-MS method to
detect benzodiazepines in larvae and puparia of
insects reared on corpses was developed and
validated. In conclusion, this research aimed at
combining the usefulness of alternative matrices
with the analytical power of LC-MS-MS. Final
outcome is a number of sensitive and validated
methods ready for use in routine analysis.