Forensic Toxicology Program

College of Pharmacy
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Publications and Monographs

>> Juhascik MP, Negrusz A, Faugno D, Ledray L, Greene P, Lindner A, Haner B, Gaensslen RE. 2007. An Estimate of the Proportion of Drug-Facilitation of Sexual Assault in Four U.S. Localities. J Forensic Sci 52(6,Nov):1-5

Abstract: In recent years, drugs including flunitrazepam, GHB, ketamine, and ethanol, have become popularly associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault. Other drugs are also candidates as factors in DFSA. The true extent of DFSA is not known, and is difficult to estimate.
We recruited sexual assault complainants at four clinics in different parts of the U.S. to anonymously provide urine and hair specimens, and to answer questions about suspected drugging, drug use, and the sexual assault incident. Urine and hair specimens were tested for 45 drugs, including ethanol, pharmacologically capable of inducing sedation, amnesia, or impairment of judgment. Analytical test results were used to estimate the proportion of subjects, and the proportion of all complainants to the clinic in the same time period, who were victims of DFSA.
Overall, the cases of 43% of 144 subjects, and 7% of 859 complainants, were characterized as DFSA. Subjects underreported their use of drugs. The role of toxicological results and history in characterizing DFSA cases is discussed.

 >> Bommarito, A. Forensics programs prove education and experience go hand in hand. In Chemistry 2002;12(2, Nov/Dec), an on-line journal of the American Chemical Society featuring articles primarily by students concerning education in chemistry. Angelo Bommarito earned his M.S. in forensic science from the UIC program in 2002. He participated in the UIC Residency Program with the Illinois State Police while in the program.

 >> Negrusz A, Moore CM, Stockham TL, Poiser KR, Kern JL, Palaparthy. Elimination of 7-aminoflunitrazepam and flunitrazepam in urine after
a single dose of rohypnol®. J Forensic Sci 2000;45(5,Sep):1031-40

Abstract: The hypnotic benzodiazepine flunitrazepam (Rohypnol®) has been identified as the drug of choice for the purposes of "drugging" unsuspecting victims and raping them while they are under the influence of this substance. The objective of this paper was to study elimination of flunitrazepam and 7-aminoflunitrazepam in urine collected from ten healthy volunteers who received a single 2 mg oral dose of Rohypnol®, to determine how long after drug administration 7-aminoflunitrazepam can be detected. A highly sensitive NCI-GC-MS method for the simultaneous quantitation of flunitrazepam (LOQ 100 pg/mL) and 7-aminoflunitrazepam (LOQ 10 pg/mL) in urine was developed. All samples were screened for benzodiazepines using optimized micro-plate enzyme immunoassay. The highest concentrations of 7-aminoflunitrazepam (70–518 ng/mL) and flunitrazepam (0.7–2.8 ng/mL) in urine were observed 6 h after drug administration in nine subjects and after 24 h in one subject. In six subjects 7-aminoflunitrazepam was detected up to 14 days after flunitrazepam administration, in one subject up to 21 days and in three subjects up to 28 days. In urine samples collected from six volunteers, flunitrazepam was detected three days after Rohypnol® intake, in three subjects 24 h, and in one subject 5 days later. Benzodiazepine micro-plate enzyme immunoassay kit allowed the detection of flunitrazepam and metabolities 5 to 21 days after drug administration.

>> LeBeau M, Andollo W, Hearn WL, Baselt R, Cone E, Finkle B, Fraser D, Jenkins A, Mayer J, Negrusz A, Poklis A, Walls HC, Raymon L, Robertson M, Saady J. Recommendations for toxicological investigations of drug--facilitated sexual assaults. J Forensic Sci 1999;44(1,Jan):227-30

Abstract: The recent increase in reports of drug-facilitated sexual assaults has caused alarm in the general public and prompted forensic toxicologists from across North America to address the toxicological issues surrounding this matter. The authors have developed recommendations and guidelines to inform law enforcement, medical, and scientific personnel of the requirements for performing successful toxicological examinations in cases of drug-facilitated rape.

>> Negrusz A, Perry JL, Moore CM. Detection of cocaine on various denominations of United States currency. J Forensic Sci 998;43(3,May):626-9

Abstract: The presence of cocaine on U.S. paper currency collected in many cities in the United States has previously been reported. Currency becomes contaminated during the exchange, storage and use of cocaine. Different currency denominations are also rolled by drug users and used to snort cocaine. Illicit cocaine is widely abused and therefore the contaminated paper currency can be easily found in common use. A total of 18 bills were analyzed in our laboratory for cocaine. Ten $20 bills were randomly collected in Rockford, IL and four $1 bills in Chicago. An additional four uncirculated $1 bills were analyzed as a control group. All bills were extracted with 0.1 M hydrochloric acid followed by solid-phase extraction. Cocaine was identified using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in full scan mode, and drug quantitation was performed in selected ion monitoring mode. A standard curve was prepared and doxepin was used as an internal standard. In addition, for method validation two levels of control solutions were analyzed simultaneously. Precision and accuracy values were within acceptable ranges. Cocaine was present on 92.8% of all bills collected from the general circulation. All $20 bills were contaminated with cocaine and the amount of drug varied from 0.14 to 10.02 mg of cocaine per bill (x = 2.86 mg). Only one $1 bill was cocaine free. In one case ($1 bill), only traces (below quantitation limit) of cocaine were found. All four uncirculated $1 bills were cocaine-free.

>> Browne S, Moore C, Negrusz A, Tebbett I, Covert R, Dusick A. Detection of Cocaine, Norcocaine, and Cocaethylene in the Meconium of Premature Neonates. J Forensic Sci 1994;39(6,Nov):1515-19

Abstract: Our objective was to investigate the methodologic detection of cocaine abuse during pregnancy by determining the viability of meconium analysis for cocaine and its metabolites using chromatographic procedures as an alternative to urine testing using enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique. Our design was as follows: meconium and urine were taken from 106 very low birthweight premature babies. Meconium analysis for cocaine and its metabolites using extraction and chromatographic analysis was compared with the criterion standard immunoassay testing for urine. The work was carried out at The University of Chicago Hospital, Department of Pediatrics and the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Pharmacodynamics. Our patients were very low birthweight, premature babies (mean birthweight 1109 g; mean gestational age 29.1 weeks). Gender was evenly divided between male and female. The outcome measures were as follows: two active metabolites, norcocaine and cocaethylene, were detected in the meconium, but not in the urine, of some of the neonates. Determination of cocaine exposure in the newborn influenced assignment of babies in research studies as well as psychosocial evaluation and subsequent treatment of the neonate. Our results were: of the 106 meconium samples analyzed, 21 (19.8%) were positive for cocaine (n = 19, 0.24–0.78 mg/kg), norcocaine (n 7, 0.10–0.56 mg/kg), cocaethylene (n = 1, 0.12 mg/kg) or combinations thereof. Benzoylecgonine was not detected in any of the samples. Of the urine samples analyzed by immunoassay, only 8 (7.5%) were positive for cocaine metabolites. We conclude that meconium is a better sample than urine for determining cocaine exposure in utero. The presence of two neuroactive metabolites, norcocaine and cocaethylene, is reported, norcocaine for the first time. Immunoassay screening procedures for urinalysis are inadequate because false-negative results are obtained.