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J Forensic Sci. 2000 May;45(3):552-62.

Geographic origin determination of heroin and cocaine using site-specific isotopic ratio deuterium NMR

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US Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Testing and Research Laboratory, McLean, VA 22102-3494, USA.


SNIF-NMR (Site-specific natural isotopic fractionation measured by deuterium NMR) was employed on 36 heroin samples from seven different known origins, and two cocaine samples from two different known origins. Heroin has two "synthetic" deuterium labeled sites (the two acetyls from acetic anhydride, each representing three equivalent nuclei) and 15 "natural" deuterium labeled sites (originating from the morphine produced in the opium plant). The "natural" sites have the potential for determining geographic location of the original opium plant, while the "synthetic" sites could assist in giving information about the commercial source of acetic anhydride used to convert morphine to heroin. Cocaine has 15 "natural" deuterium labeled sites. This study shows that SNIF-NMR has some use in determining the geographic origin of heroin and also has good potential for determining the geographical origin of cocaine.


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