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According to the latest World Drug Report, released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), drug use is up 30% over the past decade and there are more drugs, and more types of drugs, than ever. Herein we use Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) for the rapid ID of narcotics in a range of concentrations - from pure forms (as it is likely to be smuggled & transported) to street forms, often mixed with conventional cutting agents. Using FTIR, 75% of "street sample" narcotics were rapidly identified, and the effects of cutting agents on identification (ID) were also investigated. The limit of detection of MDMA was assessed, with a correct ID shown from 25% w/v. Concentration was correlated with Hit Quality Index, showing the capability of FTIR use in concentration estimation.


Samuel F Williams, Robert Stokes, Pik Leung Tang, Ana M Blanco-Rodriguez. Detection & identification of hazardous narcotics and new psychoactive substances using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Analytical methods : advancing methods and applications. 2023 Jul 06;15(26):3225-3232

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PMID: 37341678

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