A review of biological indicators of illicit drug use, practical considerations and clinical usefulness

K Wolff*, M Farrell, J Marsden, MG Monteiro, R Ali, S Welch, J Strang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims. To examine a range of biological indicators of illicit drug use, including blood, urine, hair and saliva, addressing both technological and practical issues relating to their application and interpretation. Methods. The review process involved an examination of Key reference texts and literature from the scientific fields of analytical and clinical toxicology. Findings. Urine remains the biological tool of choice for qualitative detection of illicit drug use in a clinical setting, while quantitative accuracy remains strictly the domain of blood. The growing sophistication of laboratory analysis may additionally make possible the routine use of hair sampling which can provide a much longer time frame for assessment. Breath, saliva, sweat or breast milk remain possibilities in the future. Conclusions. Accurate interpretation of the screening tests within a clinical setting alongside other relevant information remains the key to the usefulness of any test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1298
Number of pages20
JournalAddiction
Volume94
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999

Keywords

  • CHROMATOGRAPHY MASS-SPECTROMETRY
  • TESTING HUMAN HAIR
  • BREAST-MILK
  • INCORPORATION RATES
  • COCAINE METABOLITE
  • URINARY-EXCRETION
  • GC-MS
  • METHADONE PHARMACOKINETICS
  • AMPHETAMINE ISOMERS
  • MECONIUM ANALYSIS

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