The aim of this study is to predict how long after time of death a buried body could be analyzed for opiates in soft tissues and to show the accessibility and suitability of bone marrow as a useful toxicological specimen from buried bodies. Morphine solutions were injected in nine albino rabbits. Doses ranged from 0.3 to 1.1 mg/kg with 0.1 mg/kg increments. One hour after the injections, the rabbits were sacrificed. Blood, urine and bone marrow samples were collected for analysis. After the whole bodies were buried, femur bone marrow specimens were collected on the seventh and fourteenth days. CEDIA(R) was used to monitor morphine contents of the collected samples. All experimental cases showed that the increase in the given morphine doses correlated with the increase in blood and bone marrow morphine concentrations. High morphine concentrations were detected in urine samples, but there was no correlation between the urine and blood or urine and bone marrow morphine concentrations. Statistically meaningful increases in bone marrow morphine concentrations were found parallel to increase of blood morphine concentrations. Seventh and fourteenth day postmortem morphine concentrations also followed this correlation. Morphine concentrations in bone marrow at 7 and 14 day postmortem decreased consistently when compared with bone marrow morphine concentrations collected immediately after death. We conclude that in sudden death when other specimens are unavailable due to degradation, bone marrow can be a most useful specimen. Further experimental research in this area is required to validate bone marrow as an alternative tissue. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.