Screening postmortem blood and tissues for nine classes [correction of cases] of drugs of abuse using automated microplate immunoassay.Forensic Sci Int 1999; 106(2):93-102FS
A commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) was evaluated as a screening procedure for the detection of nine classes of abused drugs in postmortem blood and tissue specimens. Specifically, postmortem blood, fluid and/or tissue homogenates were screened for amphetamine (AMP), methamphetamine (MET), barbiturates (BARB), benzodiazepines (BZD), cannabinoids (CNB), cocaine (benzoylecgonine; BE), morphine-specific (MOR), opiates (class; OPI), phencyclidine (PCP) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) by ELISA and by coated tube radioimmunoassay (CTR) (BARB, BE, OPI, PCP, LSD) or double-antibody radioimmunoassay (DAR) (AMP/METH, BZD, CNB). Specimens that screened 'positive' by any method were confirmed and quantitated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The only assay that appeared to perform less optimally than RIA was the MOR assay (five false negatives). However, this assay is very specific for free morphine while the GC/MS confirmation method provided a total morphine value. The OPI assay was more sensitive, producing fewer false negatives, and is recommended for broad class opiate screening. EIA is an adequate alternative to RIA for screening postmortem specimens, including blood and tissue, for nine major classes of drugs.