NEW DRUGS & ALCOHOL ADVISORY BOARD ESTABLISHED
A new Hair Strand Scientific Advisory Board has been established by UK-based Trimega Laboratories. Its purpose is to analyse the fast growing database of information created from the 10,000 hair alcohol tests and 7,000 hair drug tests carried out in the UK each year, of which Trimega Laboratories is responsible for around 40%.
As well as being the world’s largest resource relating to substance abuse from both hair and blood tests, the database also contains vital self-donor reporting information. This will assist the Board in analysing what drink and drugs individuals say they have consumed in relation to what is found in test results.
Furthermore, the database gives the Board unique access to historical information relating to the ‘combined marker’ hair alcohol testing system. This system, which measures both EtG and FAEE markers in hair, has become the UK courts’ preferred method for accurately determining long-term alcohol misuse. As a pioneer of the ‘combined marker’ system, Trimega Laboratories has been using it to compile valuable information around alcohol trends and demographics for the past three years. Indeed a smaller subset of this information, which looked at 644 cases relating to child protection in UK courts, was published in 2009* and contributed to a joint consensus being adopted by leading scientists from around the world.
In addition to alcohol, the Board will also provide guidance on new drug metabolites such as the recently reclassified Mephedrone and other emerging ‘legal highs’ to plot where they fit into the spectrum of substance misuse in the UK.
The findings of the Board will be shared with the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) which, as a peer reviewed organisation, will assist it in future decisions – particularly those relating to the setting of universal standards/guidelines. Indeed all founder members of the Board are also members of the SoHT – one of them a Past President:
- Dr. Hans Sachs (Chair) - Past President of the SoHT and lead scientist in high profile cases such as Harold Shipman and “Black Widow” case.
- Professor Dr Fritz Pragst - an award-winning forensic toxicologist and founding father of Hair Alcohol Testing. He is also a founder member and board member of SoHT, winner of the Alan Curry Award of TIAFT (The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists), of the Jean Servais Stas Award of the GTFCh (German Society of Toxicological and Forensic Chemistry) and of the Robert-Händel Award of the German Society of Legal Medicine and ‘Guest Scientist’ at the Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital Charité in Berlin.
- Dr. Carl Selavka - a member of SoHT and full-time consulting scientist at Trimega Laboratories.
- Dr. Silke Suese - a member of SoHT and Laboratory Director of Trimega Drogencheck GmbH laboratory.
For more information on hair strand testing, visit www.trimegalabs.co.uk
* Forensic Science International (Prof. Dr. Fritz Pragst, Prof. Tom Mieczkowski, Dr Silke Suesse & Dr. Carl Selavka)