An assessment of lateral flow immunoassay testing and gas chromatography mass spectrometry as methods for the detection of five Drugs of abuse in forensic bloodstains
Schweitzer, Brendan Nolan
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Being able to detect if drugs were used in the commission of a crime, and if so what drugs, is of great importance. For many cases these tests can be carried out on an intimate blood or urine sample (one recovered directly from the subject in question), however this may not always be the case. In cases where a dried bloodstain is the only source of biological material, identifying the presence of drugs affecting an individual at the time of stain deposition has not been well studied. Towards this goal, two methods of detection of drugs of abuse in dried bloodstains were evaluated: lateral flow immunoassay test cards and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Stains were created using certified drug-free blood spiked with analytes of interest, and were then extracted and introduced into each testing method. Both methods proved effective for the detection of one or two of the five chosen analytes (amphetamine, cocaine, morphine 3-ß-D-glucuronide, phencyclidine and 11-nor-Δ9-tetrahydracannabinol), even after 24 hours of drying at room temperature. With further method optimization and more thorough method development, these methods may, in the future, be effectively used for drug detection in forensic stains. However, neither method evaluated in this study was able to detect all of the drugs tested.