Passive inhalation of cocaine

Edward J. Cone, David Yousefnejad, Mary J. Hillsgrove, Barbara Holicky, William D. Darwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Six healthy male volunteers were exposed to the vapor of 100 and 200 mg freebase cocaine heated to a temperature of 200°C in an unventilated room (12, 600-L volume) for a period of 1 h. No pharmacological effects were detected as a result of the exposure. Blood specimens collected immediately following exposure were negative for cocaine and metabolites. Urine specimens analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry contained peak concentrations of benzoylecgonine that ranged from 22 to 123 ng/mL. The peak excretion time for benzoylecgonine following passive exposure was approximately 5 h. The amount of cocaine inhaled by the subjects during passive exposure was estimated from room air measurements of cocaine to be approximately 0.25 mg. The total amount of cocaine (cocaine plus metabolites) excreted in urine by the six subjects ranged from 0.04 to 0.21 mg. For comparison, the six subjects also received an intravenous injection of 1 mg cocaine hydrochloride. Four of six subjects screened positive (300-ng/mL cutoff concentration) following the injection, indicating that the minimum amount of cocaine in these subjects necessary to produce positive results was approximately 1 mg. A second passive inhalation study was undertaken in which specimens were collected from research staff who assisted in a series of experimental studies with “crack”� (freebase cocaine) smokers. The research staff remained in close vicinity while the crack smokers smoked three doses of freebase cocaine (12.5, 25, and 50 mg) over a period of 4 h. As a result, staff members were passively exposed to sidestream smoke from crack pipes and to breath exhalation from the crack smokers. Urine specimens from the staff members contained a maximum of 6 ng/mL benzoylecgonine. Only traces (less than 1 ng/mL) of cocaine were detected in any specimen. Overall, these studies demonstrated that individuals exposed to cocaine smoke under naturalistic or artificial conditions absorbed small amounts of cocaine that were insufficient to produce positive urine specimens at standard Department of Health and Human Services cutoffs. However, passive exposure conditions that would result in absorption of cocaine in amounts exceeding 1 mg could result in the production of cocaine-positive urine specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-411
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of analytical toxicology
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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  • Cite this

    Cone, E. J., Yousefnejad, D., Hillsgrove, M. J., Holicky, B., & Darwin, W. D. (1995). Passive inhalation of cocaine. Journal of analytical toxicology, 19(6), 399-411. https://doi.org/10.1093/jat/19.6.399