Evidence of drug use detectable in hair for months

Evidence of drug use detectable in hair for months
Credit: Wageningen University

With new analytical techniques, evidence of drug use remains detectable in hair for months. This is the conclusion of the PhD thesis 'Improved forensic hair evidence for drugs of abuse by mass spectrometry' by Wilco Duvivier. He will defend his thesis on 5 July at Wageningen University.

Drug use can be demonstrated by analysing blood or urine, but the traces disappear very quickly. Hair is different. Traces of use remain detectable for months, which is useful for forensic and medical testing.

The thesis describes research into improvements in current hair analysis methods for detecting drug use, and entirely new ones. In one new approach, the entire length of a lock of hair is scanned, resulting in a detailed timeline of a person's drug use.

Besides monitoring drug use, in the future these new hair analysis techniques could also be used for detecting the use of prohibited growth stimulants in .


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Jun 28, 2016
what if it could detect "gay sex" ?

Jun 28, 2016
my point being that consenting adults in private should not be an offence.

there is a class of people who are always nosey about what others get up to, as technologists we should not be giving them the means to indulge themselves.

Imagine that in 50's Britain/america it was possible to use a similar test to detect what are now legal, but were always private encounters.

Jun 28, 2016
what if it could detect "gay sex" ?

What is that even supposed to mean? And how the hell does it relate to the article even if it means something?

Imagine that in 50's Britain/america it was possible to use a similar test to detect what are now legal,
Legal is that which is in the law books. If something was illegal back then it doesn't matter that it's legal now. It was still illegal back then.

What you probably mean is 'legitimate' (which is something entirely different from being 'legal'). And even that is subject to change over time.
Because you could turn your argument around: "what if at some future point X is no longer legal and/or legitimate but right now it is...does that make it right or wrong right now?"

It's a nonsensical question.

Jun 28, 2016
what if it could detect "gay sex" ?

Well, Mr BONK, your results are in and you've tested positive.

EWH
Jun 28, 2016
It would be a little more credible if the grad student could even spell "heroin" or "amphetamine" in the graphic.

Jun 29, 2016
Well, Mr antialias, its not like you to fail to comprehend stuff - ?
My point is that as far as I'm aware it is not illegal to have taken drugs, providing one is no longer under the influence - and driving.
i consider it oppressive for authorities to be able to rewind through your private life, and new technologies can invoke new laws, or approaches to law - which I resist strongly.
Considering US society and law, try and imagine what the world might be like now if, when anti-gay and anti-communist law was around, the authorities had these types of tools at their disposal. There were some good and influential people in those categories, a lot of whom were not "caught" for doing something that society now accepts as legitimate within reason.
Taking illegal substances for recreation, pleasure, insight and development are not in themselves (and in moderation) any predictor of criminality, or moral terpitude, or unsuitability to be a parent or an employee.

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