Drug trends in some regions of the world are extensively studied while in other regions little to no research has been done. For example, countless studies have been performed in the United States of America while in the midst of its opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, in the Arabian Gulf region, only a few studies have been conducted and most were survey based. As a result, drug use in these regions is poorly understood. Al-Asmari et al. conducted what is believed to be the first epidemiological study on heroin-related deaths in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Using Clean Screen® DAU, morphine, codeine, and heroin biomarkers, 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM) and 6-acetylcodeine (6-AC) were extracted from postmortem blood, urine, vitreous humor, and bile samples. Solid phase extraction was followed by analysis on LC-MS/MS to confirm and quantify target analytes in new postmortem cases.
Combining old case data from Jeddah Poison Control Center (JPCC) and new data from postmortem specimens, a total of 97 cases were assessed in this study. Of these 97 cases, 98% were male with a median age of 38. The increase in morphine and 6-MAM concentrations from the youngest to the oldest age groups can be explained by tolerance that develops with chronic opioid use. Many other analytics were performed and discussed in this paper.
Citation: Al-Asmari, A.I.; Alharbi, H.; Al-Zahrani, A.E.; Zughaibi, T.A. Heroin-Related Fatalities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, between 2008 and 2018. Toxics 2023, 11, 248.