ArticlesEvaluation of the Addiction History of a Dead Woman After Exhumation and Sectional Hair TestingTsatsakis, Aristidis M. Ph.D; Tzatzarakis, Manolis N. Ph.D; Psaroulis, Dimitris M.D; Levkidis, Christos M.D; Michalodimitrakis, Manolis M.D Author Information From the Department of Forensic Sciences, University of Crete, Crete (A.M.T., M.N.T., M.M.); the Department of Forensic Pathology and Toxicology, University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki (D.P.); and the State Forensic Service, Ministry of Justice, Athens (C.L.), Greece. Manuscript received March 3, 2000; revised June 1, 2000; accepted June 8, 2000. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Aristidis M. Tsatsakis, Toxicology Laboratory, Medical School, University of Crete, Iraklion, 714 09, P.O. Box 1393, Crete, Greece. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2001 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 73-77 Buy Abstract In Greece, sectional hair analysis, in addition to clinical examination, has been used as a valuable tool for the confirmation of a person’s history of drug use. The present report concerns the toxicologic analysis of the exhumed remains and hair samples of an 18-year-old woman. Postmortem toxicologic analysis of blood and urine confirmed recent opiate and cannabis use and indicated that death was associated with heroin abuse. Several months later, the woman’s family asked for exhumation and reexamination of the body, insisting that the cause of death was homicide. The investigating judge ordered exhumation and new medicolegal examination of the body. The investigation of the drug profile along the hair shaft was undertaken by analyzing hair sections 1 cm from the hair root for morphine, 6-monoacetylmorphine, heroin, and cannabinoids. The total lengths of the hair samples ranged from 8 to 11 cm. The total morphine levels in the hair sections corresponding to the 3-month period before death were significantly lower (1.5–2.85 ng/mg) than those of the 4-to 10-month period before death (7.4–14.8 ng/mg). An interpretation of these results may be occasional drug use (with considerable attenuation of use during the last 3 months before death). Decrease of tolerance to heroin caused by abstinence and relapse in use could have been the cause of death. © 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.