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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 54-60

Advances in Toxins and Narcotics Determination Techniques in China During 2013

1 Key Laboratory of Evidence Science, China University of Political Science and Law, Ministry of Education, Beijing, China
2 Key Laboratory of Evidence Science, China University of Political Science and Law, Ministry of Education, Beijing; Collaborative Innovation Center of Judicial Civilization, China

Date of Web Publication29-May-2015

Correspondence Address:
Hongxia Hao
Collaborative Innovation Center of Judicial Civilization
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2349-5014.157904

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Recently, toxin and narcotics detection techniques have been developed in China. A number of new technologies have been applied. The pretreatment technologies such as solid-phase extraction (SPE) techniques, solid-phase microextraction (SPME) techniques, hollow-fiber liquid-phase microextraction (HF-LPME) techniques, etc., have matured, and thus have greatly improved both the accuracy and efficiency of the analysis of toxins and narcotics as well as the technical system of analysis. Based on analyses conducted using the traditional methods of gas chromatography (GC) as well as other conventional methods, various new methods of analysis have been gradually discovered and developed. For instance, ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC)-mass spectrometry (MS) and other combination technologies have enriched the variety of detection methods that are available to researchers. These highly precise methods are developed on the basis of and as extensions of traditional applications and still draw the attention of researchers from a variety of disciplines.

Keywords: Narcotics, toxicological analysis, toxins

How to cite this article:
Zeng L, Liu Z, Han X, Hao H. Advances in Toxins and Narcotics Determination Techniques in China During 2013. J Forensic Sci Med 2015;1:54-60

How to cite this URL:
Zeng L, Liu Z, Han X, Hao H. Advances in Toxins and Narcotics Determination Techniques in China During 2013. J Forensic Sci Med [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Feb 7];1:54-60. Available from: https://www.jfsmonline.com/text.asp?2015/1/1/54/157904

  Development of Toxicological Analysis Techniques Top

The pretreatment techniques of toxicological analysis have become increasingly important due to the extensiveness of toxic plant and animal species, the diversity of tested specimens, the uncertainty regarding target compounds, and the different chemical properties exhibited by many of them. The typically used extraction methods encompass liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), solid-phase extraction (SPE), solid-phase microextraction (SPME), supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), microwave extraction (MWE), liquid phase microextraction (LPME), microbead extraction (MBE), and hollow-fiber liquid-phase microextraction (HF-LPME).

The diversity of pretreatment methods

SPE, also known as solid-liquid extraction (SLE), is a physical extraction process involving the liquid phase and the solid phase. Specifically, in the extraction process, the adsorption affinity of the solid phase for analytes is relatively larger than that for sample base solution, and thus when a sample is transported through a solid-phase column, the analyte is adsorbed on the surface of the solid filler, while other components are discharged from the column. The analyte can be eluted using a suitable solvent. This methodology is principally based on the levels of absorption amount differences between the analytes present, using various types of media to effectively separate the desired substance from its impurities. This technique has greatly enhanced the detection capability of analytes, particularly trace analytes and the recovery rate of samples. As a pretreatment technique, SPE has been applied more extensively in the laboratory. Xiaohui Tan et al., [1] used an  OASIS® HLB 3cc (60 g) (OASIS® HLB - Waters, Massachusetts, USA) SPE column to extract Clozapine and its major metabolites in urine or blood. Compared with traditional LLE pretreatment methods, the SPE method has some advantages, such as high recovery, repeatability, high speed, and effectiveness, since it can be effectively and directly applied to practical cases of analysis. Cuixia Shu et al., [2] used a SPE method to detect zopiclone in blood, indicating that the linearity is great in the range of 50-5000 ng/mL. The recovery was 96.9% and the detection limit was 30 ng/mL. The pretreatment process used in this method is simple, and the recovery rate, as well as the sensitivity, is high, so the method is suitable for most practical cases. Wenting He et al., [3] employed a  ZORBAX Extend-C1 8 column (Agilent Technologies, California, USA) in the detection of diazepam and its subsequent metabolites in the blood collected from rabbit test subjects. They demonstrated that the detection limits for diazepam and its phase I and II metabolites are 30 ng and 60 ng respectively, with recoveries of 83.7% and 107.9% respectively, and that the linearity is within an adequate range. Using this method to extract diazepam and its metabolites, less solvent was consumed and the operations were simpler. Moreover, it processes the samples at a higher speed with less contamination, and yields a higher extraction rate. Lina Gao et al., [4] used headspace-SPME (HP-SPME) to determine the trace prometryn in water with a detection limit of 0.05 μg/L; the water samples spiked recovery 101.5-103%, and a relative standard deviation of 1.01%. The wide detection linear range, the ability to gain reproducible results and the innate accuracy of this approach align with the requirements of sound detection procedures. Kun Xiao et al., [5] extracted tramadol in urine using a SPME membrane technology, indicating that the tramadol extraction rate in urine can be improved by increasing the area of the SPME membrane, by the concentration of the sample, by extending the immersion time, and by introducing innovative ultrasound technology into the absorption-desorption process of the membrane. The method combines SPME with membrane separation technologies, so that it has the advantages of both directly separating and extracting trace organic compounds in the liquid.

Currently, the SPE and SPME methods are the primary pretreatment methods of toxin and narcotic analysis with high extraction efficiency, but both extraction methods have their own flaws. The SPE method consumes large amounts of organic solvents, giving rise to environmental pollution. Additionally, although the SPME method consumes no organic solvents, the fiber head is expensive and has a limited usage life. In view of these factors, it is necessary to seek a new, inexpensive, environmentally friendly pretreatment method with high extraction efficiency.

The HF-LPME technique employs a hollow-fiber membrane as the support of the microextraction solvent (acceptor phase), which consists of sampling, extraction, and concentration. The extraction is conducted in a porous hollow-fiber lumen, which helps to avoid any direct contact with the sample solution and prevents any granular impurities and macromolecules from passing through the pores of the fiber wall, and hence a variety of samples can be purified. Jie Cao et al., [6] extracted chlorpromazine in blood via the  HF-LPME method with a minimum detection limit of 0.01 mg/L, a linear range of 0.01-10 mg/L, and a relative recovery in the range of 93-102%. The method is simple and has advantages, such as: A high extraction rate, less organic solvent consumption, and avoidance of residues and cross-contamination. This helps to make it suitable for the detection of substances in the blood, like chlorpromazine in this example. Dan Wang et al., [7] used the HF-LPME method to extract methaqualone in urine, and investigated the extraction performance and stability of methaqualone in urine using different hollow-fiber liquid-extraction modes under the impact of varied pH, temperature, stirring speed, extraction time, and so on. The research results of the analysis indicate that the relative standard deviation used to determine the quantity of methaqualone in urine is 0.6% and the detection limit is 49.1 ng/mL. The determination of methaqualone in urine through this method has a high sensitivity, a short extraction time, and a high recovery rate.

Development of novel analytical methods

Cases of accidental death resulting from medication poisoning occur from time to time, so it is necessary to develop an applicable technique and to establish a systematic detection methodology. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) technology has been widely applied in the analysis and test cases of accidental death due to common medication poisoning. Yi Wang et al., [8] measured bullatine A in human blood by using the UPLC mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS)/MS method: After the sample was extracted using ethyl acetate and then separated with a C 18 column, the column was treated by means of a gradient elution method with 0.1% formic acid acetonitrile solution and 0.1% of a formic aqueous solution, so the mobile phase was completed successively, and then it was tested and detected in positive ions-multiple reaction ions monitoring mode. As a result, the concentration of bullatine A correlates with the peak linearly (r = 0.9968) in the range of 3.5-850 μg/L -1 with a detection limit of 0.1 μg/L and a recovery of 86.6-89.4%. This analysis method has been found to be rather simple and accurate in its determinations, and therefore it could be used as the standard quantitative measure for detecting bullatine A in human blood. Yue Yue et al., [9] have established a method to detect sulfadiazine in whole blood using the UPLC-MS/MS method as well: The blood sample was extracted utilizing hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB)-SPE and then separated by UPLC chromatography. The detection was conducted through MS/MS with a detection limit of 0.21 ng/mL, a linear range of 10-1000 g/mL, and a recovery rate higher than 102%. This method has some significant merits in the area of concentration enrichment, high sensitivity, rapid analysis, and ready operation, etc.; therefore, it may be used in a qualitative and quantitative analysis or in a test of sulfadiazine in whole blood. Sen Zhao et al., [10] detected methylpiperidine in whole blood via the UPLC-MS/MS method; the blood samples were diluted by aqueous ammonia at a pH of 8 and then separated by vortex centrifugation. The supernatants were purified by a mixed weak cation exchange column and then tested using the UPLC-MS/MS method in the mode of the positive ion scan-multiple reaction ions detection. The methylpiperidine parent ions, corresponding to 114.098 (m/z) and 98.215 (m/z), are the indicators measured for the determination and quantification of the sample. The spiked recoveries are in the range of 65-75% and the detection limit is 0.3 ng/mL. The method is quick to perform as well as being rather simple, while having a high level of sensitivity, which is applicable to the detection of methylpiperidine poisoning cases in the field of forensic science. Jian Huang et al., [11] established a UPLC-MS/MS method for the determination of the presence of lincomycin in whole blood: The blood samples were extracted with 3 mL of water and then treated by vortex centrifugation. The supernatants were separated with an HLB column and rinsed with 10% methanol aqueous solution. Then, the column was eluted with pure methanol for the UPLC-MS/MS analysis. Lincomycin parent ions corresponding to 406.987 (m/z) and daughter ions corresponding to 126.011 (m/z) and 359.009 (m/z) were the indicators for the determination and quantification of the sample. The spiked recoveries were found to be in the range of 104.98-120.74% and the detection limit is 55.4 pg/mL. The method has good reproducibility, high accuracy, and high detection speed, finding applications in forensic science. In addition, UPLC has been used as well in the detection and identification of the antipsychotic medication chlorpromazine, [12] as well as the anesthesia-assisting medication succinylcholine chloride; [13] consequently, the results are all stable and reliable and provide solutions to a number of practical applications. The advantages, which include high speed, handiness, and sensitivity of the UPLC, render it widely applicable to a variety of pharmaceutical analyses.

The traditional liquid chromatography-MS (LC-MS) and gas chromatography-MS (GC-MS) remain widely used and are prevalent in the detection of toxins. Qunxing Tang et al., [14] analyzed the structure of impurities in the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of cefotiam hydrochloride ester using the HPLC-MS process. Based on the LC spectra of the cefotiam hydrochloride ester and its related substances, the so-called species 1 in the sample is a ∆3-isomer, and the chemical structures of the three impurities in species 2 were analyzed. Through this method, the related substances in the cefotiam hydrochloride ester can be quickly and accurately isolated and their identity easily determined, which is favorable for the quality control of cefotiam hydrochloride ester. Yujing Luan et al., [15] employed the HPLC-MS method to establish a qualitative and quantitative method for the detection of difenidol in human plasma, with a detection limit of 0.5 ng/mL, and the recoveries were found to be within the concentration range of 1.0-100.0 ng/mL and were higher than 80%. With regard to the performance of this method in testing difenidol, the retention time is short and the peak is symmetrical. Moreover, the separation effect, the MS response, the sensitivity, the accuracy and the precision fit the detection requirements of clinical plasma medication concentration and of difenidol poisoning in forensic toxicology.

Cosmetics have been the focus of much toxicological analysis and detection such as the following, in order to account for impurities in the finished products. For instance, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide are generally present in cosmetics, such as facial cleanser, shampoo, and other cleaning products, with polyethylene glycol or polypropylene glycol as raw materials. Due to their mutagenic and carcinogenic properties, according to European Union (EU) regulations and the Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics of China, both were listed as banned substances, but there is no standard detection method in China. Jingxuan Zhang et al., [16] optimized the pretreatment procedures, such as salt saturation, emulsion breaking, and headspace conditions, and determined that residual amounts of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide were present in cleansing cosmetics and a variety of other cleaning products using headspace-GC-MS, which is significant for the establishment of national or industrial detection standards to prevent the inclusion of these residual contaminants in cosmetic and cleaning products.

Because pesticide is inexpensive and available, it is often used either intentionally or unintentionally in various poisoning cases. Paraquat is a widely used destructive herbicide that also happens to have a high level of toxicity to humans and animals. For the accurate quantification of paraquat using GC-MS or GC, Junting Liu et al., [17] added paraquat derivatives as an internal standard, including ethyl and isopropyl paraquats, which were synthesized using bipyridine and iodoethane. After that, the researchers were able to detect and verify the presence of various reduced paraquat products along with sodium borohydride using GC-MS, which could be the basis of the quantitative detection of paraquat in biological samples. Besides, endosulfan is a highly toxic organochloride pesticide, having an effective insecticidal effect on bollworm and other pests. Unfortunately, it is known that certain criminals have administered endosulfan for the purpose of poisoning fishponds. Yunfeng Zhang et al., [18] detected endosulfan and endosulfan alcohol in pond water and fish using GC-negative chemical ionization MS (GC-MS-NCI) and a SPE pretreatment method, endosulfan alcohol detection, and the detection limit was 0.1 ug/mL. This method is sensitive, simple, accurate, and reliable, so it can provide trustworthy evidence in investigations of aquatic endosulfan poisoning cases.

  Development of Narcotics Detection Technology Top

In recent years, drug abuse has become increasingly rampant in China, resulting in an increasing number of victims and deaths involving narcotics, which has jeopardized the stability of society. Furthermore, as new drugs are introduced by criminal organizations to the public, the challenges presented for the analysis, identification, and measurement of these new drugs will only cause greater challenges for the pharmacological community and for law enforcement. Therefore, the development and promotion of economic, rapid, and accurate narcotics detection methods are important to curb the spread of drugs and to fight against drug-related crimes.

Development of traditional narcotics detection technique

Marijuana is one of the three most common drugs in the world, mainly consisting of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. Wanfeng Zhai et al., [19] compared the ionization effect of marijuana polyphenols using electrospray ionization (ESI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) patterns. Besides, ultra-fast LC-MS (UFLC-MS) was used to investigate the effects of spray voltage, atomizing air flow, drying gas flow rate, heating block temperature, dissociation pipe temperature, and other parameters on marijuana polyphenols when using ESI and APCI, and the optimal parameters were determined. It was indicated that ESI is preferable when detecting marijuana samples and that APCI can be used as a supplementary method under conditions of a complex matrix.

Heroin is an extremely addictive traditional drug that has hundreds of years of history of use in China and around the world. Xiaowei Yu et al., [20] used the SPE-LC-MS/MS method, simultaneously detecting the major metabolites of heroin including 3-β-D morphine glucuronide (M3G), morphine, and O 6 -monoacetylmorphine in urine and blood. BAKERBOND spe TM octadecyl (C 18 ) was selected for use in the extraction, which was detected by the LC-MS/MS and its quantification was conducted through  multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) and the internal standard method. It is demonstrated that the minimum detection limits of urine M3G, morphine, and O 6 -monoacetylmorphine were 1.25 pg, 6.71 pg, and 0.47 pg respectively, while those of blood M3G, morphine, and O 6 -monoacetylmorphine were 1.50 pg, 8.21 pg, and 0.52 pg, respectively. This method offers a short sampling time, separates easily and effectively, only has minimal impurities interference, and has high recoveries, rendering it quite applicable for the extraction, purification, and analysis of the main metabolites of heroin in blood and urine. Cuimei Liu et al., [21] used UPLC-MS/MS to qualitatively and quantitatively determinate 10 dopants in heroin under ESI source-positive ion and MRM mode. The quantification limit (LOQ) was in the range of 0.005-0.5 μg/g and addition levels were in the 25-250 ng/mL range, with spiked recovery in the range of 95.8-114.2%. This method is simple, rapid, accurate, and sensitive, meeting the operational requirements for the rapid qualitative and quantitative analysis of dopants in heroin samples.

The historic drug opium has been cultivated in China and elsewhere over the centuries of time, mainly being comprised of morphine, codeine, thebaine, and noscapine. Long-term smoking can produce narcotic dependence, leading to irreparable damage to the human body and even death. Cuimei Liu et al., [22] employed the ultrasound-assisted SPE-HPLC method to detect the five alkaloids mentioned above in the seized samples, indicating that the LOQ of the method ranges 0.58-2.78 mg/kg. As well, the addition levels were in the 0.2-1.5 mg/mL range, with spiked recovery in the range of 81-99.2% and with a relative standard deviation in the range of 1.6-5.0%. By using this method, the alkaloids in the seized opium from different regions can be extracted with ready operation and high extraction efficiency, which is an ideal method for detecting opium alkaloids.

The new drug often known as "bath salts," is a designer drug also called a Casey ketone and is a growing international threat that has emerged in the field of narcotics, mainly comprising 4-methylmethcathinone and (or) methylenedioxypyrovalerone. Zhenhua Qian et al., [23] have introduced the physicochemical properties, side effects, detection methods, and regulations of the narcotic, providing a better understanding of the drug for forensic science officers. Ying Chang et al., [24] established a LC-MS/MS method to qualitatively and quantitatively determinate methcathinone: Triple-quadrupole-rod LC-MS (LC-QQQ), with the mobile phase of 0.1% formic acid dissolved in acetonitrile, was selected as the main analyzer. The flow rate of gradient elution was 0.3 mL/min. The ESI source was chosen as the source of MS, set in positive ion mode and MRM mode. Within the concentration range of 0.1-10000 ng/mL, the detection limit was 0.04 ng/mL and the recovery ranged 95.6-100.7%. In addition, the relative standard deviation of intra-day and inter-day retention time and peak area was lower than 5.28%. This technique, compared to other methods of analysis, has a higher sensitivity, short analysis period, lower mobile-phase consumption, broad linearity range, and other additional advantages.

Ketamine, commonly known as "Kid," "K powder," and "ketamine," is a dangerous psychotropic narcotic and a nonopiate drug used in anesthesiology that has appreciable psychological dependence potential. Jun Zhu et al., [25] detected ketamine in hair using the GC-MS and GC-nitrogen-phosphorus detector (NPD) methods. The analysis was performed after an acylation-derivatization treatment. As a result, the detection limits of GC-MS and GC-NPD were 0.1 ng/mg and 0.2 ng/mg respectively, with extraction recovery rates higher than 95%. The recoveries are high and the detection limits are low. Moreover, the precision and sample stability are also favorable, so this method can be used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of ketamine in hair.

Emergence of novel narcotic detection technology

Compared with traditional narcotics such as heroin, the "packaged" new drug called "fairy water" is more confusing, as it is often an amalgam of many substances both legal and benign, and illegal and psychoactive in nature. Recently, many narcotics traffickers have begun to add these new drugs to beverages such as milky tea, coffee, green tea, and so on, denoted by "magic water" or "happy water." Peng Xu et al., [26],[27] applied GC-MS to detect five cases of new "magic water" liquid narcotics and one case of rare complex liquid drug containing 15 active components, of which seven are expressly regulated narcotics in China or the precursor of narcotics, while several of the other components are not controlled by the state. This method can effectively separate the main organic components in a variety of liquid narcotics, and additionally, the analysis is rapid, sensitive, and accurate. Peng Xu et al., [28] also used the UFLC method to identify the two narcotic components of 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl) indole (JWH-073) and 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl) indole (JWH-018) simultaneously in a novel spice. As a result, the determination of the linearity of JWH-073 and JWH-018 are exceptional, with average recoveries of 98.58% and 98.72%, respectively. This method is sensitive, reproducible, simple, and feasible, and could certainly prove to be a scientifically reliable choice of analyses for the detection of JWH-073 and JWH-018 contents in new test substances. Ying Chang et al., [29] used GC-MS spectrometry, for the first time, with an electron impact (EI) ion source, to successfully detect 2,6 di-tert-butyl-methyl phenol in suspicious items obtained during criminal seizures. The morphology of this chemical is extremely similar to methamphetamine, which is a white or light yellow crystal, and it is a new type of dopant in methamphetamine. This substance has been found not to be addictive or cause dependence; it is quite inexpensive, and criminals often add such dopants to narcotics for profiteering, or to directly sell it as a fake of the drug. Hence, antinarcotics or criminal law enforcement personnel as well as inspection personnel should pay close attention to those who have purchased large amounts of this type of raw chemical materials, for the resolution of criminal investigations.

The narcotics and poisons rapid detection chip will be the focus of toxin analysis technology in the next decade. Hongxia Hao et al., [30] were dedicated to the application of sensing chip technology for the detection of poisons and narcotics. They used codeine as a template molecule, methacrylic acid (MAA) as the functional monomer, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) as a crosslinking agent, azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) as the initiator, and acetonitrile as the reaction solvent, to prepare a completely-reacted homogeneous and stable codeine molecularly imprinted polymer membrane on a gold chip surface. Adsorption experiments involving a blank film, a codeine molecularly imprinted polymer membrane and substances structurally similar to codeine showed that the selectivity of substrates of the codeine molecularly imprinted polymer film depends on the spatial structures of the binding sites of the substrate molecules and molecularly imprinted polymer membranes as well as its holes. Furthermore, the elution-desorption results of the codeine molecularly imprinted polymer film showed that in a certain range, 10 -15 ~ 10 -8 mol/L, the eluent concentration was significantly correlated with the resonance angle linearly; the linear regression equation is given by the following: y = -0.315x + 3.455 (R2 = 0.9878). These results are favorable for the rapid detection of narcotics, and that prevents the drawbacks of the lengthy detection period coupled with the complexity of the operational procedures.

With the improvement of laws and regulations and the awareness of personal human rights maintenance, it may be difficult to collect on-site blood or urine samples, but these samples can be substituted by other, more convenient and readily available sample sources, such as saliva. Sample collection and narcotics detection in the case of saliva have many advantages compared to traditional blood or urine samples, including the following: (1) infringement on the rights of the subject and rights to privacy can be avoided; (2) special collection equipment is not necessary to prevent cheating and close monitoring is not required; (3)   such samples are easier to purify, because of which the interference of impurities in the human body can be reduced; (4) the presence and concentrations of narcotics and its metabolites in a free state can be easily detected, which is conducive to analyzing and evaluating the damage of the individual abuser; and (5) based on the content of metabolites in the saliva, the intake time of the narcotics can be determined. Yue Chen et al., [31] have summarized the global research advances involving saliva samples in narcotics detection, and have garnered much attention and focus from the pharmacological community for working toward the development of using saliva samples as a better means of narcotics detection and related pharmacokinetic studies, which could provide a resource for related research and practice.

  Theoretical Studies on Toxins and Narcotics Top

The advancements in theoretical research dealing with toxins and narcotics have also contributed to the development of toxins and narcotics analysis or detection technologies. Mingjian Wu et al., [32] introduced the applications of metabolomics in forensic toxicology and provided a resource for related research and applications. Toxins tend to interact with the cells or the tissues, such that the concentration, the flow rate, and the composition of the metabolites will change, and these changes on the human body due to the influence of narcotics can be sensitively and comprehensively detected in terms of  metabonomics overall, to favor the analysis of the mechanism of toxins and narcotics. In addition, the existing criteria and laws regarding drug abuse and addiction are generally subjective and lack maneuverability. The metabonomics technique has yielded a new orientation for pharmacologists in investigating and determining aspects of addiction. Moreover, drug abuse will give rise to specific and reproducible effects on the metabolites of the body, and the use of the metabolomics method to detect changes regarding the related metabolites could indicate the type of narcotic, the extent of drug abuse, and the subject's relapsing history. Therefore, metabolomics may be extensively applied in toxins and narcotics detection.

Given the substantial progress of the scientific community, advancements in technology, and developments within the judicial system, the toxicological analysis results that are accepted in courts of law should be more scientific, reliable, comparable, and rigorous. In view of this, toxicological analysis laboratory quality control could be the most effective approach to meet this requirement. Shuo Liu et al., [33] recently summarized the development history and current situation of toxicological analysis laboratory quality control, and discussed the flaws and solutions in the quality control of Chinese toxicology analysis laboratories.

The forensic toxicology appraisal report reflects the results of toxic detection. Due to the simplicity and ambiguity of the toxicology appraisal report, the reliability and scientific validity of the evidence might be questioned, so toxicology analysis results cannot be effectively used. Min Shen [34] compared and analyzed the form and content of toxicology reports at home and abroad, proposing recommendations for the format of toxicology appraisal reports. The scientific format would not only improve the content of the appraisal quality but also effectively ensure the value of the statutory evidence and the significance of the results.

Currently, in China, various incidents of intoxicated driving have caused issues that have emerged and are worsening, resulting in a growing social anxiety and a serious threat to road transportation safety as well as social harmony and stability. The laws and regulations concerning intoxicated driving in China have not been fully developed. "Penalty for drugged driving" is still in the process of being determined, and the specific processing procedures and legal responsibilities remain unclear. Shuaifeng Chen et al., [35] concluded the relevant development of legislation of drugged driving and scientifically analyzed bottlenecks of legislative improvement concerning drugged driving in China. Moreover, some targeted legislative proposals have been presented: (a) regulations to control relevant drugged driving abusers' licenses must be strictly enforced and improved continuously; (b) the process of "Penalty for drugged driving" should be actively and steadily promoted by legislative departments; (c) the rights of citizens should be protected and appropriate remedies should be enhanced.

  Relevant Books and Conferences Top

Forensic toxicology involves both the qualitative and quantitative determination of medications and the lethal mechanism of these medications. The analysis of toxicological results concerns a variety of factors including the time of death due to poisoning, medication resistance, and the synergy between poisons and other medications. Even if each medication is in the range of its "therapeutic concentrations," poisoning is possible because of the synergy between different medications. Hongxia Hao et al., [36] translated the classic work of toxicology, the Handbook of Forensic Toxicology for Medical Examiners, in which common narcotics and toxins, prescribed medications, clinical treatments using over-the-counter drugs, and autopsy data were recorded, which favors professionals majoring in drug analysis to analyze general toxicological results.

During October 20-23, 2013, the Ninth National and Global Forensic Science Symposium and the Second Session of the Fifth Council of the Chinese Forensic Science Society were held ceremoniously in Beijing. At this symposium, over 200 Chinese and international experts in the fields of pharmacology and forensic science, including legal experts, submitted more than 400 papers for presentation in the form of keynote speeches, speeches, written communication (two symposiums), and other forms. The presentations covered informative and innovative subject studies, theoretical discussion, practical experience, case reports, etc., in the fields of forensic pathology, forensic injury biomechanics, clinical forensic science, forensic science, forensic toxicology, forensic anthropology research, forensic psychiatry, and related interdisciplinary fields. During November 12-15, 2013, the Sixth National Toxicology Conference of the Chinese Toxicological Society and the Sixth National Congress of the Members were held in Dongfang Hotel, Guangzhou. The theme was "modern toxicological science and development of socio-economy and health industry." During the conference, avant-garde research in progress was presented as well as a review of the international advances and trends in the field; the yet-unattained frontiers of research were discussed; and new technologies and their respective academic results were reported by numerous invitees who represented leading toxicological experts.  These reports embrace not only General Assembly made a special report. These reports are not only of fundamental research at the cutting edge of international scope but also of applied research closely related to people's  daily lives and livelihoods. Besides, the conference speakers also provided suggestions on the prospects of future developments in toxicology and certain issues that were of concern.

  Acknowledgment Top

This work is part of research on drug and explosive detection technique developing, and was supported by the Opening Project of Key Laboratory of Evidence Science at China University of Political Science and Law, Ministry of Education (2012KFKT07), the Program for Young Innovative Research Team at China University of Political Science and Law (1000-10814344), and Academician Foundation of the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China (no. 2011-23210044, 2011-23211119, 23212052).

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