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Forensic Sci Int. 2013 Apr 10;227(1-3):45-7. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Methamphetamine and amphetamine concentrations in survivors of body-packer syndrome in Japan.

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Department of Legal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.


There are few reports from Japan on the analysis of fluids in survivors of body-packer syndrome. We analyzed the concentrations of stimulants in the serum, plasma and urine collected from three patients suspected of being body packers at immigration that were referred to hospitals between 2010 and 2011. The drugs were extracted with solid-phase columns and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In all cases, wrapped, cylindrical packets of foreign bodies were detected in the intestinal tract on plain X-ray (X-P) and computed tomography (CT), and they were eventually removed surgically. In case 1, the patient presented with convulsions and tachycardia at admission to the hospital and one of the packets was found to have ruptured. In case 2, although the subject appeared to have an intestinal obstruction caused by the packets on the third day, he exhibited no symptoms on arrival and the packets did not appear to have ruptured. In case 3, the patient exhibited restlessness on the first day and one of the removed packets had ruptured. In all cases, methamphetamine (MA) and amphetamine (AP) were detected in serum, plasma and urine. In this study, we report the variation in MA and AP concentrations in survivors of body-packer syndrome. The serum and plasma concentrations of MA were high in subjects that exhibited symptoms of MA intoxication. MA and AP were also detected in the case in which the patient exhibited no symptoms of intoxication and the packets had not ruptured. These results suggest either that the stimulants may have seeped through the wrap of the packets, or that the subject had been abusing the drugs.

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