International Journal of Legal Medicine | VOL. 137

Possibility of drug-distribution measurement in the hair of drowned bodies: evaluation of drug stability in water-soaked hair using micro-segmental analysis

Publication Date Oct 15, 2022


In postmortem examinations, the drug analysis of hair is effective for revealing drug-use history. Additionally, a method to estimate the day of death using hair was previously developed by analyzing a single hair strand segmented at 0.4-mm intervals (micro-segmental hair analysis). However, for drowned bodies, drugs in the hair may be washed out due to soaking in water for extended periods. To evaluate the possibility of measuring drug distribution in the hair of drowned bodies, drug stability in hair samples soaked in various aqueous solutions was examined. First, reference hair strands of drug users containing specific drugs consistently along the hair shaft were prepared. The participants ingested 4 hay-fever medicines (fexofenadine, epinastine, cetirizine, and loratadine) every day for approximately 4months before hair collection. Each reference strand was divided into regions, and each region was soaked in different solutions containing various solutes for extended periods up to approximately 2months. In solutions without divalent ions (Ca2+ and Mg2+), the drug content in the hair decreased up to approximately 5 % with increasing salt concentration and soaking time. However, the decreased drug content was negligible in solutions containing divalent ions, implying that the divalent ions prevented drugs contained in hair from washing out. As natural river and sea waters contain divalent ions, the drugs in hair were hardly washed out even when the hair was soaked for 2months. Thus, it was concluded that drug-distribution ...


Drugs In Hair Divalent Ions Drowned Bodies Reference Strand Soaking In Water Hair Collection Hair Strand Increasing Salt Concentration Soaking Time Natural River

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