BioPharma Institute, distributor of AbuseCheck Hair Alcohol and Drug Testing, has announced the release of its new dual-biomarker testing kit, along with a campaign to make two-pronged approach to alcohol testing the standard in the U.S. The highly sensitive kit -- which tests two studied bio-markers correlated with alcohol abuse -- will make it more difficult to cover up the signs of chronic drinking for individuals who are a danger to their families, as well as transportation professionals who are a danger to their passengers.
For years, the ‘gold standard’ in alcohol abuse testing in the U.S. has been the EtG biomarker found in hair. However, “Using the EtG test in isolation carries the risk of the 'wash-out' effect, whereby the frequent washing and intense shampooing of a donor's hair slowly removes the EtG marker that has been deposited onto the hair,” explains Terry Carmichael, Director of Marketing for the BioPharma Institute. “As a result, this bio-marker is sensitive to false-negative results.”
AbuseCheck Hair Alcohol Abuse Testing is just one of several services offered from the BioPharma Institute. BioPharma is best known for its online training targeting the biotech, clinical research, pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, and drug manufacturing industries. The Institute is also a distributor of biotech and healthcare services in the U.S.
Recently, Forensic Science International magazine published a 2011 study by an international panel of scientific experts (S. Suesse, F. Pragst, T. Mieczkowski, C.M. Selavka, A. Elian, H. Sachsf, and M. Hastedt) on bio-markers. The study found that the FAEE bio-marker also used in AbuseCheck are relatively stable in hair, and that hair care products, such as bleach and shampoos, do not significantly decrease FAEE concentrations.
The 2011 study results parallels conclusions drawn in previous studies regarding the efficacy of EtG and FAEE testing. “We now have more evidence suggesting that by combining both EtG and FAEE results, it is possible to get a more complete and more reliable picture of alcohol abuse,” reports Rosemary Frappola, Head of Client Services at Trimega Labs, a substance abuse testing company and the European supplier for AbuseCheck.
“Understanding the value of a test which uses both EtG and FAEE biomarkers together to assess alcohol abuse was the catalyst for our campaign to use the combination test as a standard in the U.S.,” says Carmichael.
One meaningful benefit of hair alcohol abuse testing is that results are admissible as evidence in court. “AbuseCheck Hair Alcohol Abuse Tests can be used in family court by parents involved in child custody cases, guardians of teenagers, employers, and legal representatives who need to prove or disprove a recent history of alcohol or drug abuse,” says Terri McCulloch, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ANY LAB TEST NOW®, a healthcare lab testing facility which collects the hair specimens used for testing.
Elsewhere in the judicial system, AbuseCheck Hair Alcohol Abuse Tests can be used in post-accident related cases to determine whether alcohol intoxication was likely a contributing factor. This is particularly meaningful in the light of the increasing number of transportation accidents in recent years where substance abuse has been a contributing factor.
- In the worst NYC subway accident in 63 years that injured over 200 people, the MTA reports that conductor, Robert E. Ray, had a .21 blood alcohol level hours after the crash (New York Times, August 30, 1991).
- In May 2006, the New York Times ran an article about the Celebrity Cruises captain who was removed from his ship shortly before it sailed from Seattle to Alaska and was subsequently charged with operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol.
- In November 2009, ABC News reported that authorities boarded United Airlines Flight 949 at London's Heathrow Airport and escorted the pilot from the cockpit for a Breathalyzer test.
More recently, the captain of the Costa Concordia is alleged to have been drinking at dinner with a Moldovan dancer on the night of the shipwreck off Italy. Reuters, on January 23, 2012, reported that Schettino tested negative in hair and urine tests for drug use, but was not tested for alcohol on the night of the accident. Carmichael observes that the protocols in the AbuseCheck combination FAEE / EtG Hair test kit can be used weeks after an accident to assess whether alcohol abuse was likely a component. “That gives law enforcement an expanded window to determine if alcohol may likely have been a factor in an incident,” he says.
Carmichael is quick to point out that saving lives with AbuseCheck FAEE / EtG Hair Alcohol Abuse Testing is the real goal. He notes out that dual-faceted, pre-departure alcohol testing can reveal whether a captain or driver is fit for duty before an accident occurs. “That’s the most effective way to keep everyone safe,” he says.