Forensic science international

A rapid GC-MS method for the determination of dihydrocodeine, codeine, norcodeine, morphine, normorphine and 6-MAM in urine.

PMID 12098538


The presence of the heroin metabolite 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM) in urine is used to definitively identify recent heroin abuse. A rapid and sensitive GC-MS method for the simultaneous analysis of codeine, norcodeine, morphine, normorphine and 6-MAM in urine was developed and successfully applied to the analysis of 321 'heroin-positive' urine specimens from individual subjects (identified by the presence of 6-MAM), to provide quantitative urinary opiate excretion data for heroin abusers. The cohort analysed was composed of 238 males (age range 16-53 years) and 83 females (age range 16-50 years). The concentrations of free 6-MAM, morphine and codeine determined in these 321 specimens ranged between 103-246,312, 129-193,600 and 103-519,000 microg/l, respectively. Free norcodeine and normorphine concentrations were found to range between 143-50,200 and 205-149,700 microg/l, respectively. A statistically significant relationship was determined between the subject age and the 6-MAM concentration, possibly indicating opiate tolerance in these individuals.