Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples Assignment

Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples Assignment

Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples: The analysis of controlled drug abuse has been primarily been carried out using urine samples. This is then complemented further with use of other biological fluids such as blood, sweat and saliva. There are many advantages as to why urine is a better biological fluid to use in comparison to the other biological fluids. Some these include:


  • Less invasive – No needles required to obtain the sample.
  • Little medical supervision required
  • Cost of conducting the test is lower

Urinalysis however also has some limitations, some which are

  • The drug detection window (DDW), the time frame in which the drug can be detected is somewhat short. It is typically 1-3 days. Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples Assignment
  • The sample can be easily contaminated; therefore testing is carried out on an altered sample.
  • The sample can be easily changed if it is diluted. [2]
  • There are also safety issues, if improper care is taken when handling the sample then sin contact may lead to infections.
  • Abstinence can also provide inaccurate readings. If prior knowledge of when the test is going to be carried out, the user may abstain from using the controlled substance a few day prior to the test being carried out.
  • Consumption of excessive water – the user excessive amount of water are consumed then the sample given may be diluted, therefore providing an inaccurate concentration of the drug abuse. Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples Assignment
  • The cut off point- Urinalysis tends not to have a low enough of a cut off point. This will mistake controlled drug abuse with other possible metabolites of food. An example of this is the consumption of poppy seeds. This can be mistaken for morphine abuse.

With further developments analytical techniques such as GC/MS hair samples are now the preferred sample to for the analysis of controlled drug abuse. This is then complemented with urinalysis and blood analysis. The advantages using hair include

Drugs are commonly found in hair samples.

Hair tends to be more of a qualitative test rather than a quantitative. It measures the concentration and frequency of the abuse, not just its presence. [3] Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples Assignment

A longer DDW – measures the abuse the abuse over months and years, as appose to days.

The chart above shows the concentration of a drug present urine and hair over a period of 12 days

Hair is easier to handle – poses no threat of infection if skin contact is made [4].

Hair is a more stable specimen – it has a stable protein structure which cannot be easily contaminated [5]

Little medical supervision or surgical intervention is required when obtaining the sample and is therefore seen to be less invasive. Quantification of Opiates in Hair Samples Assignment