A drug rape case involving triazolam detected in hair and urine

Int J Legal Med. 2012 Jul;126(4):637-43. doi: 10.1007/s00414-011-0654-6. Epub 2011 Dec 9.


In recent years, there has been heightened awareness regarding the use of drugs to modify a person's behavior to facilitate crime. A drug rape case involving the potent, short-acting sedative triazolam will be presented. On three occasions, the victim consumed green tea and chocolate before being massaged and ultimately sexually abused. Screening for alcohol, commonly used drugs and illicit substances in blood and urine sampled during the forensic examination 20 h after the last incident, was negative. Consequently, hair samples for chemical analysis were taken from the assaulted individual 34 days after the last incidents. The hair was cut into three 2-cm segments (0-6 cm) that were washed, dissolved in extraction solvent and screened and verified by ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled with time of flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-TOF-MS) and with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS), respectively. In the 2-cm hair segment corresponding to the period of the alleged assaults, the presence of the sedative triazolam was revealed at a concentration of 1.0 pg/mg hair. The preserved urine sample, taken 20 h after the last incident, was reanalyzed by UPLC-MS/MS for metabolites of triazolam, and 39 μg/l α-hydroxytriazolam was detected in the hydrolyzed urine. This case illustrates that hair is a valuable forensic specimen in situations where natural processes have eliminated the drug from typical biological specimens due to delays in the crime being reported. Furthermore, it was possible to verify the hair finding with a urine sample by detection of a metabolite of triazolam.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Female
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / analysis*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Rape*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Triazolam / analogs & derivatives
  • Triazolam / analysis*
  • Triazolam / urine


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Triazolam
  • alpha-hydroxytriazolam