Variability associated with interpreting drugs within forensic hair analysis: a three-stage interpretation

Davies, Christopher, Gautam, Lata, Grela, Agatha and Morrissey, Joanne (2020) Variability associated with interpreting drugs within forensic hair analysis: a three-stage interpretation. Journal of applied toxicology : JAT. ISSN 0260-437X

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Hair analysis is capable of determining both an individual's long-term drug history and a single exposure to a drug, which can be particularly important for corroborating incidents of drug-facilitated crimes. As a source of forensic evidence that may be used in a court of law, it must be credible, impartial and reliable, yet the pathways of drug and metabolite entry into hair are still uncertain. Many variables may influence drug analysis results, most of which are outside of the control of an analyst. An individual's pharmacokinetic and metabolic responses, hair growth rates, drug incorporation routes, axial migration, ethnicity, age and gender, for example, all display interpersonal variability. At present there is little standardization of the analytical processes involved with hair analysis. Both false positives and negative results for drugs are frequently encountered, regardless of whether a person has consumed a drug or not. In this regard, we have categorized these variables and proposed a three-stage analytical approach to facilitate forensic toxicologists, hair analysis experts, judiciaries and service users in the analytical and interpretation process. [Abstract copyright: © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.]

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1002/jat.3959
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Davies, C, Gautam, L, Grela, A, Morrissey, J. Variability associated with interpreting drugs within forensic hair analysis: A three‐stage interpretation. J Appl Toxicol. 2020], which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Keywords: axial migration, data interpretation, drug hair analysis, drug-facilitated sexual assault, hair growth rate, segmental analysis
Subjects: Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice > Forensic science
SWORD Depositor: Jisc Router
Depositing User: Jisc Router
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 14:50
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:12


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