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Application of hygrine and cuscohygrine as possible markers to distinguish coca chewing from cocaine abuse on WDT and forensic cases.

Forensic science international (2014-03-25)
N C Rubio, S Strano-Rossi, M J Tabernero, J L Gonzalez, L Anzillotti, M Chiarotti, A M Bermejo
ABSTRACT

The objectives of present work are twofold. First, we want to verify that hygrine and cuscohygrine are good markers to distinguish between chewing coca leaves and cocaine abuse. Secondly, we try to develop a quick and easy qualitative method to determine the two mentioned markers. We analyzed two kinds of urine samples: the first group consisted of twenty-four (24) subjects: urine samples were obtained from various types of workers (e.g. doctors, chemists, nurses, technicians, painters, contractors, employees and some retired persons) who admitted chewing coca leaves. Frequency of the habit of chewing coca leaves was variable. They practiced "coqueo" between two (2) and forty-four (44) years. Sixteen (16) of them used alkaline substances to enhance the extraction of cocaine from the leaves The second group of urine samples consisted on thirty-eight (38) cocaine abusers, from forensic cases from Spain and Argentina. A GC/MS qualitative method, performed after liquid-liquid extraction, was developed and validated (the parameters studied were selectivity/specificity, LOD and stability), and then applied to the urine samples. Hygrine and cuscohygrine are good markers to distinguish between chewing coca leaves and cocaine abuse, and the qualitative method presented can be used successfully in workplace drug testing and forensic cases.

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