We compile citations and summaries of about 400 new articles every week.
RSS Feed

HELP: Tutorials | FAQ
CONTACT US: Contact info

Search Results

Journal Article


Meier SI, Koelzer SC, Schubert-Zsilavecz M, Toennes SW. Drug Test. Anal. 2017; 9(10): 1572-1585.


Institute of Legal Medicine, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Kennedyallee 104, D-60596, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


(Copyright © 2017, John Wiley and Sons)






The evaluation of drug and alcohol abuse is a major subject of forensic toxicology. Assessment of drug abstinence currently requires the analysis of urine or hair. In the present study cerumen, a mixture of sebum and sweat, was tested as an alternative. Postmortem samples (blood, urine, hair and cerumen from 38 corpses) were analyzed using liquid chromatography and gas chromatography, each coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS, GC-MS). The results were compared. In all cases of recent drug use (i.e. detection of opiates, amphetamine and derivatives, cocaine, methadone and diazepam or their metabolites in blood) the corresponding cerumen was positive. In 3 cases, where drugs could only be detected in urine, cerumen was also found to be positive. Even in cases where only hair was positive cerumen still contained analytes in some instances (52.5 %). However, cannabis use was only detected in 31.6 % of cerumen samples of the deceased cannabis users. Unexpectedly, not tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was detected but its oxidized form, cannabinol. The present results suggest that cerumen is a promising alternative for drugs of abuse testing. The detection time window of cerumen is obviously in excess of that of urine but not as long as with hair. However, current problems with the detection of cannabinoids require further research.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Cerumen; abstinence testing; drugs of abuse; liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry; postmortem toxicology


All SafetyLit records are available for automatic download to Zotero & Mendeley