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A doctoral dissertation defended at TUT found alternative methods for quick detection of drug abuse

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One of the supervisors of the doctoral dissertation, Professor Mihkel Kaljurand, explains that the main goal of the defended doctoral dissertation was to evaluate new methods for the detection of narcotic drugs in street seizures and biological samples as alternatives to or in addition to traditional methods. “It was investigated whether marijuana and GHB (bottle-cap drink) abuse can be detected in saliva instead of blood and urine samples. Sampling saliva for analysis is very easy compared to blood and urine sampling and the development of methods that can operate with this body fluid is the biggest achievement of this dissertation,” adds Kaljurand. According to him, the methods developed in the dissertation provided very good and reliable results allowing to effectively analyse narcotic drugs in different sample matrices.

Narcotic and psychotropic drugs abuse and addiction (i.e. drug addiction) is a growing problem encountering thousand of victims every year in Estonia alone.  Thus, solving of this major problem is becoming increasingly important not only at national but also at international level.
The recently published report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) shows that in 2014 an exceptionally large number of psychotropic substances, the total of 101, came onto the market, thus achieving the new record – 450.  The data indicate that the use of drugs has reached the highest level of all times, which in its turn calls for rapid detection of new drugs.

The most common drugs are still cocaine, heroin and cannabis products (marijuana, hashish – cannabis is by far one of the most widely used drugs). According to the EMCDDA report, every fourth inhabitant of the European Union has tried cannabis at least once in his/her life. It should be borne in mind that the use of cocaine and heroin is accompanied by particularly severe social problems, because these drugs cause strong addiction and change a person’s life radically, even irreversibly, having often a fatal effect. But also other drugs – MDMA, known as Ecstasy and GHB or bottle-cap drink – are extremely popular among young people.

The supervisors of the doctoral dissertation were Professor Mihkel Kaljurand (TUT) and PhD Larisa Poryvkina (NarTest AS), the opponents were Proffessors Boguslaw Buszewski (the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland) and Heli Siren (the University of Helsinki).

The doctoral dissertation has been published in the digital collection of TUT library at http://digi.lib.ttu.ee/i/?3969

Original article published by Tallinn University of Technology

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