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Sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency in detecting opiates in oral fluid with the Cozart Opiate Microplate EIA and GC-MS following controlled codeine administration

Preston Publications
Publication Date
  • Ra1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical Jurisprudence. Legal Medicine


Oral fluid specimens (N = 1406) were collected from 19 subjects prior to and up to 72 h following controlled administration of oral codeine. Volunteers provided informed consent to participate in this National Institute on Drug Abuse Institutional Review Board-approved protocol. A modification of Cozart Microplate Opiate EIA Oral Fluid Kit (Opiate ELISA), employing codeine calibrators, was used for semiquantitative analysis of opiates, followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for the confirmation and quantitation of codeine, norcodeine, morphine, and normorphine in oral fluid. GC-MS limits of detection and quantitation were 2.5 microg/L for all analytes. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has proposed a 40-microg/L opiate screening and a 40-microg/L morphine or codeine confirmation cutoff for the detection of opiate use. Oral fluid opiate screening and confirmation cutoffs of 30 micro g/L are in use in the U.K. Utilizing 2.5-, 20-, 30-, and 40-microg/L GC-MS cutoffs, 26%, 20%, 19%, and 18% of the oral fluid specimens were positive for codeine or one of its metabolites. Six Opiate ELISA/confirmation cutoff criteria (2.5/2.5, 10/2.5, 20/20, 30/20, 30/30, and 40/40 microg/L) were evaluated. Calculations for Opiate ELISA sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency were determined from the number of true-positive, true-negative, false-positive, and false-negative results at each screening/confirmation cutoff. Sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency for the lowest cutoff were 91.5%, 88.6%, and 89.3%. Application of the cutoff currently used in the U.K. yielded sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency results of 79.7%, 99.0%, and 95.4% and similar results of 76.7%, 99.1%, and 95.1% when applying the SAMHSA criteria. These data indicate that the Opiate ELISA efficiently detects oral codeine use. In addition, the data, collected following controlled oral codeine administration, may aid in the interpretation of opiate oral fluid test results and in the selection of appropriate oral fluid screening and confirmation cutoffs.

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