Hmong Folk Remedies: Limited Acetylation of Opium by Aspirin and Acetaminophen

    Volume 36, Issue 1 (January 1991)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Page Count: 8


    Nelsen, LA
    Quality assurance chemist and drug identification chemist, Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Laboratory, Madison, WI

    Martin Smith, R
    Quality assurance chemist and drug identification chemist, Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Laboratory, Madison, WI

    (Received 29 January 1990; accepted 5 April 1990)

    Abstract

    The traditional folk medicine of the Hmong and other Southeast Asian refugees has accompanied them during their immigration to this country over the past two decades. In two recent cases involving Hmong defendants, unknown solids, resembling charcoal in consistency and purported to be “backache remedies,” were analyzed and found to be complex mixtures of aspirin, acetaminophen, caffeine, and partly acetylated opium. In particular, significant amounts of acetylacetaminophen, 3-O-acetylmorphine, 6-O-acetylcodeine, 6-O-acetylmorphine, and heroin were identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Heating approximately equal weights of solid opium, aspirin, and acetaminophen at 130°C for several hours produced a mixture of compounds showing a similar acetylation pattern.


    Paper ID: JFS13030J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS13030J

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    Author
    Title Hmong Folk Remedies: Limited Acetylation of Opium by Aspirin and Acetaminophen
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30