To avoid supervision when crossing borders or at the airport customs, smugglers increasingly
use body packing to transport drugs. Now, more secretive transportation methods used
for smaller quantities have brought difficulties and challenges to forensic toxicologists.
To identify heroin in adulterated beverage, a quantification technique using gas chromatography-mass
spectrometry (GC-MS) for beverage samples was developed, and heroin was extracted
via solid-phase extraction (SPE). This method was developed and fully validated using
spiked samples. Daily calibration for heroin and morphine-TMS (2-40 mu g mL(-1)) and
6-acetylmorphine (1-20 ng mL(-1)) achieved correlation coefficients of more than 0.993.
Limits of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) were evaluated, intra-
and inter-day precisions (RSD) for each compound at all concentration levels were
below 10%. The inter-day and intra-day accuracies ranged from 97.6% to 105.0% and
from 90.1% to 110.8%, respectively. Chemical decomposition of heroin to 6-acetylmorphine
in beverage or during extraction could not be avoided, especially during liquid-liquid
extraction (LLE). Recovery for heroin using extraction with chloroform was below 63.24%
in LLE or SPE. However, for all of the samples, recovery of heroin using SPE eluted
with acetonitrile was 73.60%-101.38% in spiked beverage samples or water samples.
In addition, hydrolysis of heroin in the beverage was investigated using two mock
samples, which achieved the maximum extent of hydrolysis on the third day. Using the
established method, 3.25 g and 9.13 g of heroin were detected in two case specimens.
SPE was more effective in removing sugar and other impurities than LLE with less yield
of hydrolysis. The SPE-GC-MS method is suitable for analysis of heroin in adulterated
beverage within 1.5 h.