International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 39–42 | Cite as

Morphine in postmortem blood: its importance for the diagnosis of deaths associated with opiate addiction

  • C. Staub
  • R. Jeanmonod
  • O. Frye


This article describes an analytical method for the determination of morphine, the active metabolite of heroin, in post-mortem blood by HPLC with electrochemical detection. An extraction technique allowing the determination of free and total morphine (free morphine + morphine glucuronide) was used. Blood morphine levels in postmortem cases are reported and the ratio of free to total morphine was measured in 52 cases obtained at autopsy. The importance of this ratio is discussed in relation to the circumstances of the death.

Key words

Morphine Blood Death HPLC Overdose 


Bei 52 Herointodesfällen wurden im Leichenblut die Konzentrationen an Morphin und Morphinkonjugaten bestimmt. Aus dem Verhältnis der Konzentrationen können Aufschlüsse über die Dauer der Überlebenszeit abgeleitet werden. Zur Analyse des Morphins wird eine HPLC-Methode in Verbindung mit elektrochemischer Detektion vorgestellt.


Morphin Blut Tod HPLC Überdosierung 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Staub
    • 1
  • R. Jeanmonod
    • 1
  • O. Frye
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Forensic MedicineUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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