Seized Drugs

Analyze Seized Drugs Without Sample Preparation

Got seized drugs you need to identify? Whether they are tablets, capsules, or powders, quickly identify them directly by placing the material in the heated DART ionizing gas stream. Substances are desorbed and ionized instantaneously and results can be seen in real-time.

This quick and easy analysis provides an accurate presumptive identification that can be used to triage your samples - screen and reduce the number of samples that would otherwise have to be analyzed prior to performing your confirmatory tests with the specificity and selectivity provided by DART-MS.


Click here to see how DART-MS is used to test confiscated drugs in a forensic lab 


Verify Presumptive Color Spot Tests

Color spot tests like the Duquenois-Levine tests are used to make a presumptive identification of an unknown powder, residue, or tablet. These tests are usually sensitive but lack selectivity. For instance, the Scott's test can test positive for the following drugs:

  • Lidocaine
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Cocaine (including Crack/freebase)

A blue color change is produced when any of the above substances are added to the Scott's reagent. As a result, it is not certain which of the substances caused the color change. 

With DART-MS, however, the specific substance that caused the color change can be identified. Simply take the closed end of a glass capillary, dip into the colored solution, and hold the capillary in the heated DART ionizing gas stream as shown below.

The example below shows two samples both of which produced a blue color change with the Scott's test. Upon further inspection with DART-MS, one sample contained cocaine and the other Benadryl.



Presumptively Identify Emerging Drugs

In the past, synthetic cathinones and cannabinoids were heavily prevalent in the United States according to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS). In recent years, however, the trend has drastically shifted towards opioid abuse, which is a growing epidemic that presents unique challenges for the field of forensic drug analysis. Drug abuse trends are constantly shifting, creating difficulties and challenges for their detection as tests are not immediately available. With mass spectrometry, however, mass spectral patterns can provide an indication of a possible drug even though the drug is not yet in a database. 

For example, an unknown mass spectrum containing a molecular ion that is not in any database and ions at m/z 188 and 105 may indicate that the unknown drug could be an analog of fentanyl. With DART-MS you can easily analyze your unknown drug sample without any sample preparation and quickly obtain the mass spectrum. In some instances, you can differentiate isomers using in-source fragmentation. 



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