Sometimes it is suspected that people have been involuntary exposed to drugs, usually by spiked drinks. A young woman was transported to an emergency department by ambulance. Her clinical symptoms (decreased consciousness, mydriasis, confusion, hallucinations and urine retention) indicated anticholinergic syndrome that was effectively treated with the antidote physostigmine. A urine sample tested negative for common narcotic drugs and alcohol, but an extended toxicological analysis of the urine revealed the presence of the alkaloid scopolamine. Scopolamine occurs naturally in Solanaceae plants and is used in some medications. The woman reported that the symptoms had appeared soon after she was offered tea by a male acquaintance. The analytical results along with the woman's story indicated that she had been subjected to a drug-facilitated crime. The results further demonstrate that in suspected cases of involuntary drug exposure, testing should cover a wide panel of relevant drugs, otherwise poisoning may be missed.
Anders Helander, Alexia Rylski