Journal Article

Validation of Meconin as a Marker for Illicit Opiate Use

Stephen R. Morley, A. Robert W. Forrest and John H. Galloway

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 31, issue 2, pages 105-108
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/31.2.105
Validation of Meconin as a Marker for Illicit Opiate Use

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The detection of markers for illicit opiate misuse is important both in the management of substance misuse and in the postmortem identification of illicit opiate use. In addition to 6-monoacetylmorphine and acetyl codeine, other markers, such as papaverine, noscapine, and their melabolites, have been proposed as markers of illicit opiate use. Urine samples (362) from individuals attending substance misuse services and 26 postmortem cases were analyzed for meconin, a noscapine metabolite by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Three hundred of the substance misuse service samples and 14 of the postmortem samples had morphine present as the major opiate. Meconin was detected in 284 (94.7%) of these substance misuse samples and 11 (78%) of the postmortem samples. There was a specificity of 100% in both groups. In the 62 substance misuse cases where morphine was not the major opiate detected and four separate cases in which medicinal diamorphine was known to have been administered, meconin was not detected. The use of meconin as a useful adjunct in detecting illicit opiate use is recommended.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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