The paper describes the simultaneous determination of 14N and 15N isotopes in opium by proton induced γ-ray emission (PIGE) technique. The isotopic ratio of 14N and 15N is a useful parameter for assigning provenance of (seized) illicit drugs. The measurement, non-destructive in nature, is
performed on pellets made up of opium powders and is based on the prompt detection of 2.313 and 4.4 MeV γ-rays emanating from
14N(p,p′γ)14N and 15N(p,αγ)12C nuclear reactions respectively, induced simultaneously by 3.6–3.8 MeV proton beam. Positive as well as negative deviations
from the natural isotopic abundance (99.63:0.37) were observed in the samples. The precision of the measurements is about
4%. The methodology provides an easy and rapid approach to determine the isotopic ratio of 14N and 15N and has been used for the first time in the analysis of opium.