Forensic Chemistry

Topics: Chemistry, Heroin, Chromatography Pages: 25 (8438 words) Published: July 1, 2013
Kayla Adkins

Forensic Chemistry Exam 2
I have been honest and observed no dishonesty.

1. In specific detail, describe a published procedure for the definitive identification of Heroin utilizing gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GCMS).

Heroin is a white crystalline powder with no odor and a bitter taste. It is a derivative of morphine in that the –OH (hydroxyl group) is replaced by an acetyl group, -OCOCH3 and has a molecular formula is C21H23NO5 with a molecular weight of 369.42 grams per mole and a melting point of 173°C. Heroin is a schedule I controlled substance meaning it has no medical uses and has a high potential for abuse. Abuse is classified as illegal usage of a drug or excessive use above recommended dosage. Some health effects include nervous system disturbances, narcosis, asthma and acute pulmonary edema. Some symptoms documented are respiratory irritation, meiosis, diplopia, nausea, vomiting, constipation, euphoria, dizziness, sleepiness, coma, respiratory depression, pulmonary edema, death. The central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract are among the affected systems in the human body. Some lesser known of the above symptoms are defined as such: Narcosis is the state of unconsciousness stemming from drug ingestion. Diplopia refers to double vision.1 Respiratory depression, also known as hypoventilation, is when twelve or less breaths are taken per minute that does not provide the lungs with the proper amount of oxygen. Respiratory irritation refers to any disruption of breathing; an example would be asthma. Pulmonary edema is when the heart is unable to properly pump blood through the body and the lungs become starved for oxygen.

Component Analysis of Illicit Heroin Samples by GC-MS Method was published in Farmacia Vaol LVI, 5 in 2008. The beginning of the article starts on page 577 within Farmacia. Mihaela Gheorghe, Dan BĂLĂLĂU, Mihaela Ilie, Daniela-Luiza Baconi and Anne-Marie Ciobanu performed the procedure. Gheorghe from Criminalistics Research Institute of the Romanian Police General Inspectorate, 13-15 Ştefan cel Mare Str., Bucharest, Romania. BĂLĂLĂU, Ilie and Baconi from ”Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Toxicology Department, 6 Traian Vuia Str., Bucharest, Romania. Ciobanu from ”Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medicines Control Department, 6 Traian Vuia Str., Bucharest, Romania.

The article is written in two languages, English and Romanian.

The article begins with an abstract definition of heroin and opiates. They stated that opiates have a high potental for addiction and have a severe withdraw symptoms. Also stated is heroin being an addictive drug, is commonly adulterated with other substances, sometimes other drugs to increase quantity. They clearly state the reason behind the article is the analysis of seized heroin by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Also stated are the components identified in the procedure were heroin, acetylcodeine, noscapine, caffeine and phenobarbital.

The article’s introduction describes heroin to the reader as a highly addictive, illegal drug that is the most abused in its opiate family. The article states it is processed from morphine and that morphine is naturally occurring. Street heroin is mixed with or “cut” with other substances. The list given of substances include caffeine, quinine, strychnine, phenobarbital, sugar, starch and powdered milk. Risk of overdose is high with cut heroin as the user is unaware of the strength of neither heroin being ingested nor what substance it is mixed with.

Stated within the article is the GC-MS is a specific test in that it positively identifies the presence of a given sample. It is considered the “gold standard” of forensic testing of unknown substances. The article presents the results of the GC-MS testing for identification of four heroin samples.

Substances used in the testing included the...

References: 2. Brenneisen R., Hasler F., GC/MS determination of pyrolysis products from diacetylmorphine and adulterants of street heroin samples, J Forensic Sci., 2002, 47(4):885-888
4. Klemenc S., Noscapine as an adulterant in illicit heroin samples, Forensic Sci Int., 2000, 108(1), 45-49
Drug Screening by ELISA was published by the Department of Justice in Virginia on June 11, 2013 by an unspecified Chemistry Program Manager
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