II. DRUGS OF ABUSE

2. Opium Alkaloids and Opium Derivatives (Heroin)

  1. List a natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opiate compound.
  2. What is the scientific name (i.e., genus/species) of the plant that produces opium?
  3. What are the major chemical constituents of opium?
  4. What are the major alkaloids found in the opium poppy
  5. How does an opium poppy differ from an ornamental poppy?
  6. Is heroin a naturally occurring alkaloid in Papaver somniferum?
  7. What are the five natural opiates from Papaver somniferum?
  8. Briefly describe the typical diluents / adulterants found in heroin in your jurisdiction.
  9. Why is heroin also known as 'diacetylmorphine'?
  10. What does the presence of papaverine and noscapine in a heroin sample signify?
  11. What makes heroin more pharmacologically potent than morphine?
  12. What compounds must be identified to report that a sample contains opium?
  13. What are some common excipients and diluents found in heroin mixtures?
  14. Distinguish the terms “narcotic” and “drug.”
  15. What is the difference between opiates and opioids?
  16. Name three opiates and three opioids.
  17. How is opium used?
  18. How is heroin used?
  19. What are the most important alkaloids found in opium?
  20. To what does the street drug term “speed ball” refer?
  21. What areas of the world are typically associated with the cultivation of opium and the synthesis of heroin?
  22. What does the color of opium signify?
  23. Briefly describe the extraction and purification process of the alkaloids from opium.
  24. Describe how heroin is synthesized.
  25. How is opium obtained from the poppy plant?
  26. Briefly describe the acetylation process of morphine to heroin
  27. Briefly describe the possible products in heroin if the acetylation is incomplete or if acetylation is conducted on opium directly without isolation of the alkaloids
  28. What chemical markers can be used to link two samples as to originating from the same source?
  29. Under local legislation what chemicals are controlled that could be used in the manufacture or production of the opioids.
  30. Under International Treaties what chemicals are controlled that could be used in the manufacture or production of the opioids.
  31. Where is the greatest amount of opium produced?
  32. Where is the greatest amount of heroin produced?
  33. Give an practical example where a counterfeit opioid may appear in a seemingly legitimate pharmaceutical product.
  34. Can opium alkaloids be found in juvenile opium plants or in old dried husks?
  35. Draw the chemical structures of morphine, codeine, diacetylmorphine, acetylcodeine, thebaine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, pethidine, fentanyl, methadone.
  36. What are the typical doses and duration of action of the above and when are they prescribed?
  37. What chemical derivative(s) of morphine result(s) when it is reacted with acetic anhydride? With acyl chloride?
  38. Is Oxycontin(oxycodone) derived from opium or morphine?
  39. Is methadone derived from opium or morphine?
  40. Is codeine derived from opium or morphine?
  41. Is fentanyl derived from opium?
  42. Is meperidine derived from opium?
  43. Does Oxycontin(oxycodone) have similar physiological effects as opium narcotics?
  44. Does methadone have similar physiological effects as opium narcotics?
  45. What consequence may result if a strong base is used to extract a sample suspected to contain morphine? Heroin?
  46. What process gives rise to O 6 Monoacetylmorphine?
  47. Is morphine an amphoteric drug? If so, how does that impact it’s preparation for analysis by GC-MS?
  48. At acidic pH, basic drugs are mostly charged and more soluble in polar solvents (e.g. water). True or false?
  49. At basic pH, are basic drugs mostly uncharged and more soluble in nonpolar solvents (e.g. organic) True or false?
  50. What should be used to extract an amphoteric drug having a pKa of 8.02 and 9.85 from an aqueous layer into an organic layer?
  51. What considerations are incorporated in the temperature program used when analyzing heroin? (HINT: consider diluents, adulterants and retention indices )
  52. Discuss extraction schemes for heroin such as methanol, chloroform and ionic binding that are useful for extracting trace amounts of heroin from different matrices.
  53. What common compounds are present with heroin in a syringe? Discuss breakdown products of heroin.
  54. In your jurisdiction, what are some common non-controlled opiates?
  55. Do laws in your jurisdiction define threshold quantities specific for heroin? What is the lowest threshold quantity defined for heroin in your jurisdiction?
  56. In your jurisdiction, what distinguishes legal control of morphine vs. heroin?
  57. What processes, discoveries, or inventions have increased the addiction liability of opiates and opioids?
  58. What is the main medical use of opioids?
  59. Which class of opium alkaloids is most addictive?
  60. What is the source of the vinegar-like odor that frequently emanates from black tar heroin?
  61. Why do Columbian poppy farmers collect the opium as liquid latex rather than the gum?
  62. A weak spectrum of heroin on a GC MS is observed. What further tests could be performed, including extractions?


Last Update June 2018

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