Menu

Detecting New Synthetic Drugs

Forensic labs in the United States should be better equipped to identify a new crop of recreational drug mimics.

Sep 1, 2011
Cristina Luiggi

DREAMSTIME, HENRISCHMIT

Underequipped and inadequately staffed forensic laboratories around the United States are likely to miss the new class of synthetic drugs that are cropping up, mostly in China, said chemists at the American Chemical Society meeting in Denver, Colorado. The drugs, which are synthesized to mimic existing illegal substances while evading detection, represent a growing problem worldwide. Detecting them requires laboratories to have a pure sample for comparison using analytical techniques such as gas-column mass spectrometry (GCMS), but such samples are hard to come by. Another problem is that many forensic labs may be staffed by people without the proper training in analytical chemistry.

"If you're doing GCMS on a sample and it almost matches mephedrone, well maybe it's butylone [a psychedelic drug used in research]," said Robert Lantz from the Rocky Mountain Instrumental Laboratories at the meeting. "A good analytical chemist would be able to say 'yes, this is a slight variation' as opposed to a button pusher who would simply say 'it doesn't match anything in my library'." (Hat tip to Nature News)

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
High-throughput spheroid microplate benefits cancer research, drug screening