Stability of heroin metabolites and oxycodone in rat hair and liver during decomposition
Tse, Galiena W.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of soft tissue decomposition on the stability of drugs incorporated in hair antemortem. Two burial trials were conducted: in the first trial, rats were administered oxycodone over five days; in the second trial, rats were administered heroin over nine days then drug abstinent for another nine days. After each respective treatment the rats were sacrificed and buried in controlled burial microcosms. Concentrations of oxycodone and selected metabolites or the metabolites of heroin; 6-monoacetylmorphine and morphine, incorporated within rat hair and liver were measured before and during the decomposition process. Oxycodone was analysed in hair and liver samples, while morphine and 6-monoacetylmorphine were analysed in hair samples by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). Oxycodone concentrations in both hair and liver decreased as the interment period and decomposition of the carcasses progressed. 6-Monoacetylmorphine was not detected in any hair samples collected from the exhumed carcasses.