Testing human hair for drugs of abuse. III. Identification of heroin and 6-acetylmorphine as indicators of heroin use

B. A. Goldberger, Y. H. Caplan, T. Maguire, E. J. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Hair samples from 20 documented heroin users contained 6-acetylmorphine, a unique metabolite of heroin, in all samples. Heroin was identified in smaller amounts in seven of these samples. The identity of 6-acetylmorphine and heroin was established by comparison of full scan spectra of extracts to standard reference materials. The presence of 6-acetyl-morphine generally predominated over heroin, morphine, and codeine. The mean concentrations of analytes were as follows: 6-acetylmorphine, 0.90 ng/mg, N = 20; heroin, 0.17 ng/mg, N = 7; morphine, 0.26 ng/mg, N = 20; codeine, 0.18 ng/mg, N = 15. Analysis of hair samples obtained from 10 drug-free control subjects were negative for 6-acetylmorphine, morphine, and codeine. However, a small interfering peak was observed at the retention time for heroin. Control samples soaked in aqueous solutions of heroin and 6-acetylmorphine were found to be contaminated, even though an initial wash step was included in the analysis. These data suggest that hair analysis for 6-acetylmorphine can be used to differentiate heroin users from other types of opiate exposure (e.g., poppy seed, licit morphine, and codeine); however, environmental contamination can potentially produce false positives during opiate testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-231
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of analytical toxicology
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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