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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Chemical Health and Safety