Analysis of hair for the presence of drugs. It is generally accepted that, for an average person, each hair grows approximately 1cm per month. For example, if an individual consumes a drug, then during its circulation in the bloodstream, a proportion of the drug and its metabolites will enter the hair follicle via the dermal papilla and become incorporated into the growth of the hairshaft, meaning the concentration of drug will be greater in the section of hair shaft closest to the scalp. The hair sample will be measured and cut into segments according to your requirements. Each segment will be analysed separately for the presence of drugs and their metabolites. Combined with an estimate of the growth rate of the hair, this assists in the determination of any long-term drug use for an individual. Such an opinion would only be offered if the hair sample analysed is greater than 6cm (i.e. 2 segments) from the scalp to the hair tip.
Alcohol is socially well accepted. However, from time to time there may be cause to establish a difference between social drinkers and those who chronically abuse alcohol. For many years scientists have been researching the detection of alcohol in hair. When a person consumes alcohol, various alcohol metabolites are released into the body. These metabolites are released from the scalp and deposited on the exterior of the hair shaft as the hair grows.
These metabolites, including Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG), are analysed using techniques known as LC/MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography coupled with tandem Mass Spectrometry detection).
By closely monitoring these metabolites it is possible to distinguish whether someone does not drink alcohol, is a social drinker or whether they are a chronic abuser.
There has been an increase in the use of Hair Alcohol analysis testing throughout the UK to identify chronic alcohol abusers in recent years. This type of test has been identified by the legal profession and corporations to provide an accurate historical record of alcohol abuse, or can provide evidence of long term abstinence.
It is also preferred by many due to the sample collection being non-invasive with no blood required.
Alcohol can be toxic to the liver. A person who consumes excessive amounts of alcohol will damage their liver and may experience decreased liver function.
Liver Function Tests (LFT) measure various enzymes in the blood that are produced by the liver. An abnormal result indicates a problem with the liver. For example an elevated Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) value is a biochemical indicator of possible alcohol abuse.
Using analytical testing, it is now possible to determine a person’s alcohol consumption on a routine basis.
We test a panel of five markers including Total Bilirubin, AST, ACT, ALP and Gamma GT to ensure the result is as accurate as possible.
Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT), is a widely recognised specific bio-marker of chronic moderate to heavy alcohol consumption.
In cases where the sample donor is abusing alcohol, you would expect to see an elevated CDT reading. In conjunction with an elevated LFT or EtG reading it would strongly suggest that the sample donor is abusing alcohol. Alternatively, if the sample donor can demonstrate a low CDT reading, that would strongly suggest that the sample donor is abstaining from alcohol abuse.
The UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) to the 17025 International standard for DNA Paternity, Maternity, Sibling Analysis & Drugs of Abuse Testing in Hair.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to carry out parentage tests directed by the civil courts in England and Wales under Section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969.
The Investors in People (IIP) Standard is a national quality standard which sets a level of good practice for improving an organisation's performance through its people.