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J Forensic Sci. 2004 Jan;49(1):81-6.

Component analysis of illicit heroin samples with GC/MS and its application in source identification.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Institute of Analytical Science, State Key Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.


A novel method based on GC/MS and GC for component analyses of seized illicit heroin was established by using SKF525A as an internal standard. The main components in illicit heroin products such as heroin, O3-acetylmorphine, monoacetylcodeine, and O6-acetylmorphine were determined quantitatively and the organic adulterants such as paracetamol, acetaminophen caffeine and theophylline were detected qualitatively using the developed method. With these obtained data, 500 seized illicit heroin samples were divided into nine groups. The decomposition pattern of heroin was studied. The dependencies of both the decomposition pattern and the content ratios of monoacetylcodeine to heroin and monoacetylcodeine to O6-acetylmorphine on the source of the seized illicit heroin were observed. This information was used to develop a novel method for its source identification. The examination results were in agreement with the practical cases, thus providing significant information for detection of criminal cases involving illicit heroin.

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