eISSN: 1689-1716
ISSN: 0324-8267
Archiwum Medycyny Sądowej i Kryminologii/Archives of Forensic Medicine and Criminology
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4/2020
vol. 70
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Contribution of dual-energy computed tomography in the differentiation of illicit drugs

Antoine Boizet
1
,
Julien Ognard
1, 2
,
Ons Hmandi
3
,
Claire Saccardy
4
,
David Bourhis
1
,
Douraied Ben Salem
2, 5

1.
Department of Radiology, University Hospital of Brest, 29609 Brest Cedex, France
2.
LaTIM-INSERM UMR, Univ Brest, 29238 Brest Cedex 03, France
3.
Department of Legal Medicine Charles Nicolle Hospital, Tunis, Tunisia
4.
Department of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital of Brest, 29609 Brest Cedex, France
5.
Forensic Imaging Department, University Hospital of Brest, 29609 Brest Cedex, France
Arch Med Sadowej Kryminol 2020; 70 (4): 235–241
Online publish date: 2021/03/31
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Introduction
The objective of this study was to compare the dual-energy behaviour of the main illicit substances as well as their cutting agents in order to be able to differentiate them.

Material and methods
Cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and cannabis as well as 3 adulterants, 2 diluents, and water were scanned at 90 kV and then at 140 kV on a single X-ray tube computed tomography (CT) scanner. The data acquired enabled a mapping of the attenuation values to 90 and 140 kVp as well as a resulting dual-energy index (DEI) mapping.

Results
Drugs, cocaine, MDMA (pill), and cannabis had a positive DEI (0.014–0.008), while heroin and MDMA (powder) had a negative DEI (–0.016 and –0.013). The DEI of water was –0.01 and that of taurine was –0.018. Adulterants had negative DEI, while diluents had a positive DEI. All DEI were significantly different (p < 0.01).

Conclusions
Cocaine and heroin can be clearly differentiated using DEI.

keywords:

dual-energy CT, dual-energy index, illicit drugs, bodypacking

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