Author(s): Gautam L, Sharratt SD, Cole MD
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Abstract Benzodiazepines are detected in a significant number of drug facilitated sexual assaults (DFSA). Whilst blood and urine from the victim are routinely analysed, due to the delay in reporting DFSA cases and the short half lives of most of these drugs in blood and urine, drug detection in such samples is problematic. Consideration of the drinks involved and analysis for drugs may start to address this. Here we have reconstructed the 'spiking' of three benzodiazepines (diazepam, flunitrazepam and temazepam) into five drinks, an alcopop (flavoured alcoholic drink), a beer, a white wine, a spirit, and a fruit based non-alcoholic drink (J2O) chosen as representative of those drinks commonly used by women in 16-24 year old age group. Using a validated GC-MS method for the simultaneous detection of these drugs in the drinks we have studied the storage stability of the benzodiazepines under two different storage conditions, uncontrolled room temperature and refrigerator (4°C) over a 25 day period. All drugs could be detected in all beverages over this time period. Diazepam was found to be stable in all of the beverages, except the J2O, under both storage conditions. Flunitrazepam and temazepam were found not to be stable but were detectable (97\% loss of temazepam and 39\% loss of flunitrazepam from J2O). The recommendations from this study are that there should be a policy change and that drinks thought to be involved in DFSA cases should be collected and analysed wherever possible to support other evidence types.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta