Determination of opiates and cocaine in hair using automated enzyme immunoassay screening methodologies followed by gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) confirmation.Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Jun 02; 159(2-3):189-99.FS
The objective of this study was to develop a two-step strategy for analysis of opiates and cocaine in hair samples involving an immunological screening procedure followed by confirmation of results using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). A semi-quantitative automated competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methodology using Oral Fluid Micro-Plate Enzyme Immunoassays (Orasure Technologies, Inc.) was developed and validated. Applicability was proven by analysis of authentic head hair samples from drug users (n=103) and from opiate associated fatalities (n=21). The optimum cutoff values for the ELISA tests were 0.1 ng cocaine-equivalents/mg hair and 0.05 ng morphine-equivalents/mg hair using a 50 mg hair sample. Both ELISA tests had a sensitivity of 100%, the specificity was 66% for cocaine-equivalents and 42% for morphine-equivalents. The intraassay precision was 11% for the cocaine and 3% for the opiates ELISA, while interassay precision was 12% for the cocaine and 4% for the opiates ELISA test. The actual analyte concentrations in the hair samples were determined using GC-MS and were between 0.04 and 5.20 ng/mg for heroin (HER), between 0.04 and 30.01 ng/mg for 6-monoacetylmorphine (MAM), between 0.03 and 11.87 ng/mg for morphine (MOR), between 0.02 and 1.84 ng/mg for codeine (COD), between 0.02 and 2.48 ng/mg for acetylcodeine (AC), between 0.01 and 21.37 ng/mg for cocaine (COC), between 0.03 and 10.51 ng/mg for benzoylecgonine (BE) and between 0.05 and 1.26 ng/mg for cocaethylene (CE). The automated ELISA tests were proven to be valid screening procedures for the detection of cocaine and opiates in hair as confirmed by GC-MS. Screening methods provide rapid and inexpensive automated pre-test procedures to detect drugs in hair or other matrices. For forensic purposes screening therefore represents an ideal complement to routinely applied GC-MS procedures.