Forensic Drug Testing For Opiates. V. Urine Testing for Heroin, Morphine, and Codeine With Commercial Opiate Immunoassays

Edward J. Cone, Sandra Dickerson, Buddha D. Paul, John M. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Urine specimens collected after heroin, morphine, and codeine administration were tested by four commercial opiate immunoaasays (TDx, CAC, ABUS, and EMIT) and by GC/MS. Quantitative immunoassay results (morphine equivalents) were compared with results by GC/MS for total morphine, free morphine, or total codeine. Mean detection times for the broadly cross-reacting immunoassays (TDx, ABUS, and EMIT, 300 ng/mL cutoff) ranged from 15–44 hours following heroin and morphine administration and 33–54 hours following codeine administration. Detection times obtained with CAC (25 ng/mL cutoff) tended to be somewhat shorter as a result of the high selectivity of the antibody for free morphine. High correlations over a wide concentration range were obtained for TDx, CAC, and ABUS versus GC/MS, with specimens collected after heroin and morphine administration. EMIT showed a high correlation over a narrow concentration range (0–1000 ng/mL) with heroin and morphine specimens, but responses plateaued at higher concentrations. There was substantial variability in immunoassay responses with specimens collected after codeine administration. Generally, this study demonstrated that immunoassay responses for opiate urine testing can be used as a semi-quantitative guide for GC/MS confirmation; however, the presence of codeine increased variability and diminished the accuracy of the immunoassay response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of analytical toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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