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Addiction. 1999 Sep;94(9):1279-98.

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

Author information

  • 1National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, UK. k.wolff@iop.kcl.ac.uk

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.

PMID:
10615715
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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