Volume 40, Issue 2 (March 1995)
The Detection of Opiate Drugs in Nontraditional Specimens (Clothing): A Report of Ten Cases
We present a series of 10 fatalities involving opiate overdosage, in which morphine, codeine, and 6-monoacetylmorphine were identified and quantified, not only in postmortem biological samples, but also in pieces of underwear taken from the bodies. Small tissue samples (about 1 g) were cut off from several parts of the underwear, stored at ambient temperature until analysis, then extracted by agitation in a mixture of chloroform/2-propanol/n-heptane (60:14:26, v/v/v) and assayed using GC/MS in the single ion monitoring mode. Morphine, codeine and 6-monoacetylmorphine concentrations were in the range 0.02 to 9.27 µg/g. These results indicate that the impregnation of underwear by sweat and sebaceous secretions and/or urine provides detectable levels of the drugs excreted by these ways. Even in the absence of biological samples, assaying pieces of clothing may bring some evidence about the drug abuser status of their owner.