A Statistical Evaluation of the Chemical Composition of Heroin Samples with the View to Discriminating Between Their Possible Sources


The concentrations, in parts-per-billion, of 39 trace elements were measured for each of 139 heroin samples that were known to have come from either Chinese or non-Chinese sources. It was found that after dichotomizing the distribution of the concentration of each element, a statistical model based on a linear combination of only eight elements, each significant at the 20% level of significance, explained as much as 78% of the variation in the probability of a heroin sample being of a Chinese source. This model had a high ability to discriminate between heroin samples from Chinese and non-Chinese sources, with a positive predictive value of 95% and a false positive rate of 15%.

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Correspondence to A. Ekangaki PhD.

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Ekangaki, A., Skopec, J., Skopec, Z. et al. A Statistical Evaluation of the Chemical Composition of Heroin Samples with the View to Discriminating Between Their Possible Sources. Ther Innov Regul Sci 32, 229–241 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1177/009286159803200131

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Key Words

  • Positive predictive value
  • Sensitivity
  • False positive rate
  • Logistic regression