Home > The State Laboratory annual report 2007.

Walsh, Simone (2009) The State Laboratory annual report 2007. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 29, Spring 2009, p. 24.

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'The State Laboratory provides an analytical and advisory service to Government departments and offices to support their policies, regulatory programmes and strategic objectives'.1  The agency's 2007 annual report focuses on five strategic themes: agriculture and food, revenue, the Coroner Service and other departments, organisational review, modernisation agenda and optional capabilities.

 The Human Toxicology section of the laboratory provides an analytical service to the Coroner Service and other bodies, including the Irish Medicines Board.  Between 2000 and 2007 the laboratory saw a 75% increase in samples analysed for the Coroner Service.  Despite the increase in samples, the laboratory has been able to maintain and even improve agreed turn-around times. In 2007 personnel at the laboratory attended 2,950 coroners' inquests to assist the coroner in the interpretation of the toxicology report.
 Advances have been made in the analytical capacity of the laboratory. An automated extraction method for analysing cocaine and cannabis samples has been introduced, replacing the labour-intensive manual extraction method.  Work is ongoing on streamlining confirmatory analysis methods which are used for detection and identification of substances such as 6-mono acetyl morphine (heroin metabolite), methadone, cocaine and dihydrocodeine.  Other advances include new instrumentation, instrumental connectivity and validation methods.
 The reported increase in cocaine use in Ireland is mirrored in the rise in the number of post-mortem samples sent to the laboratory for analysis for cocaine.  The results of tests of human biological samples support the view that much of the cocaine used in Ireland is adulterated with other substances, most frequently lidocaine (brand name Lignocaine), diltiazem (a benzodiazepine) and phenacetin (a type of analgesic).  The toxic effect of cocaine is increased when it is mixed with such substances, particularly lidocaine.
 The goal of the State Laboratory in relation to the Coroner Service and other departments is to provide a timely high-quality service and to meet present and future demands in areas such as forensic toxicology, health and safety compliance and environment and heritage protection.
The State Laboratory website is at www.statelab.ie
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
Issue Title
Issue 29, Spring 2009
Page Range
p. 24
Health Research Board
Issue 29, Spring 2009
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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