Drug Direction

Heroin on the Rise

October 06, 2016 Tagged: 6-MAM, Tagged: 6MAM, Tagged: opiates, Tagged: heroin, Tagged: morphine Comments (0)

Heroin on the Rise

Healthcare professionals prescribe opiates for acute or chronic pain relief post-surgery or after an accident. People who become addicted to opiates cannot keep up with the cost of their addiction over time and turn to lower cost drugs like heroin. As more people seek heroin to feed their addiction, deaths from overdoses are surging. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the mortality rate due to heroin overdose more than quintupled, from 1,842 deaths in 2000 to 10,574 deaths in 2014.

What does a heroin positive look like?

When heroin is used by a person, it is converted into the active metabolite 6-acetylmorphine or 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM). In a short time after using heroin, 6-MAM is metabolized into morphine and excreted from the body. A positive test for 6-MAM can only mean the person has used heroin.

Testing for 6-MAM

6-MAM can be difficult to detect in urine because of higher cutoff levels and how quickly it metabolizes to morphine. In urine, a positive morphine result cannot differentiate between an individual’s prescribed morphine use and heroin use.

Forensic Fluids Laboratories oral fluid drug testing uses a quantitative method, specifically testing each opiate separately with lower cutoff levels. Unlike urine testing, Forensic Fluids Laboratories oral fluid drug testing provides an in-depth look at the levels for each opiate an individual is using, including heroin. Forensic Fluids Laboratories can detect 6-MAM with cutoff levels down to 1 ng/mL.

Forensic Fluids Laboratories oral fluid drug testing offers meaningful insight on what a person is ingesting.  In cases of heroin addiction, individuals can be encouraged to seek lifesaving treatment.

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Tags: 6-MAM, 6MAM, opiates, heroin, morphine

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What is 6-MAM?

July 14, 2016 Tagged: 6-MAM, Tagged: 6MAM, Tagged: opiates, Tagged: heroin Comments (0)

6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM) is a metabolite of heroin.

6-MAM refers to 6-Monoacetylmorphine. When someone uses heroin, the drug is converted into the active metabolite 6-MAM and the less active 3-MAM.  A test that is positive for 6-MAM can only mean that the person has used heroin.

Does no 6-MAM mean no heroin use?

Shortly after heroin use, 6-MAM is either metabolized into morphine or excreted from the body. If a person has not used heroin very recently, they may not be positive for 6-MAM because of its short half-life.

After the 6-MAM is metabolized, the person would only be positive for morphine.

How long can 6-MAM be detected?

6-MAM can usually be found in oral fluid for several hours after heroin use. Morphine, which is also produced from heroin use, can be detected for a longer period.

Chronic heroin use can also increase the window of detection.

Can a positive 6-MAM result be caused by a legally prescribed opiate?

No.  6-MAM is a unique metabolite of only heroin.

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Tags: 6-MAM, 6MAM, opiates, heroin

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