Presented by Hoda Moussa, candidate for the master of science degree in forensic science at Buffalo State. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome.
Notorious for its high abuse potential, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a controversial drug that has received great public attention. Most people know it as the “date-rape” drug; however, GHB has been used in therapeutic applications and as a growth hormone booster among athletes. Interestingly, GHB is also naturally found in our bodies. How then is it possible to differentiate between exogenous and endogenous GHB post-mortem?
Investigators have used methods such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to establish cutoffs when discriminating between exogenous and endogenous GHB. In one study, specimens including blood, bile, and vitreous humor were analyzed to determine such cutoffs; however, with regard to bile specimens, the study concluded that it does not fit requirements for discrimination. Another study provided new data on the urine concentration-time profile and found that the duration of detection of GHB in urine is less than 12 hours. Finally, a third study validated the methods by GC-MS and LC-MS/MS when analyzing hair specimens to confirm established cutoffs. Establishing cutoffs and understanding the effects of GHB provides us with useful information in discriminating between endogenous and exogenous GHB levels, thereby minimizing the chance for potential false positives.
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