Journal Article

Acetylcodeine as a Marker of Illicit Heroin in Human Hair: Method Validation and Results of a Pilot Study

Christèle Girod and Christian Staub

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 25, issue 2, pages 106-111
Published in print March 2001 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online March 2001 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/25.2.106
Acetylcodeine as a Marker of Illicit Heroin in Human Hair: Method Validation and Results of a Pilot Study

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Acetylcodeine (AC), which is an impurity of illicit heroin synthesis, was suggested as a marker of heroin abuse. A procedure for simultaneous quantitation of 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM), which is the major metabolite of heroin, morphine, codeine, and AC in hair was developed. Fifty-milligram hair samples were incubated in 0.01M HCl overnight at 60° The resulting hydrolyzed solutions were extracted by an automated solid-phase extraction procedure and drugs were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in selected ion monitoring mode (SIM). This required prior derivatization with propionic anhydride. Different validation parameters, such as linearity, intra-assay accuracy, extraction recoveries, and limit of quantitation, were described. Seventy-three hair samples from heroin abusers and 43 hair samples from subjects who had completed a heroin-maintenance program were analyzed. AC was detected in 92% of the first sample group and in only 12% of the second sample group. In the two groups, about 98% of AC-positive samples were found. These results prove that AC can be considered as a suitable marker of illicit heroin use, along with 6-MAM detection.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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