A team of British and Australian scientists has combined two spectroscopy techniques to rapidly identify new psychoactive substances from police drug seizures.
Designers of new psychoactive drugs, or ‘legal highs’, constantly tweak their chemical structure to avoid drug laws. And a lack of certified reference standards alongside the sample preparation required for established methods such as GC–MS and HPLC–MS has hindered high-throughput screening. So how do you test for drugs when you don’t know what you’re looking for? This is a problem currently facing forensic scientists.
Infrared and Raman screening of seized novel psychoactive substances: a large scale study of >200 samples
L. E. Jones, A. Stewart, K. L. Peters, M. McNaul, S. J. Speers, N. C. Fletcher and S. E. J. Bell
Analyst, 2016, 141, 902-909
DOI: 10.1039/C5AN02326B, Paper