Thread: Pill analysis by GC-MS?

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    Pill analysis by GC-MS? 

    I need to find out the contents of a pill being sold as dihydrocodeine. I've a strong suspicion that it is in fact not dihydrocodeine, but Codi Opt (codeine phosphate 80mg) and a fairly weak, generic Codi Opt at that. I help admin a "watchdog" website to oversee the world of internet pharmacies and it would help enormously if I could go back to this pharmacy with a lab report of the tablet's contents. Up to now we have always praised this site as highly as possible, but it's my belief they've got greedy and when dhc was out of stock, rather than turn away the financial reward of many orders, they substituted a strong codeine phos pill and reckoned nobody would notice the difference.

    I'd like to find a lab that would do gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to accurately determine the contents of one of their pills but there doesn't seem to be anywhere you can just send away a pill for this kind of testing. I understand it would be expensive and that isn't a problem.

    I always thought there was some harm reduction facility where users could send E tablets to analyse what was in them if a particular batch were suspected of being dangerous - am I wrong?
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    Bluelight Crew lil angel15's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    7,822 is the site you are referring to in regards to 'e' testing. The testing is carried out by Drug Detection Lab (DDL) in Sacramento, and it is my understanding, that DDL also offer a user pays system where you can get pills tested. I have attached some information and a link to the site that may be of some assistance.

    Best of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by


    If you would like to pay the entire lab fee of $120 USD per tablet, you can still have a pill tested. This entire fee goes to the laboratory for testing. Management and administration time is donated by Erowid, Dancesafe and MAPS to support the testing project. Test results will still be published here on

    If you want to choose the Full Pay Option, follow these instructions carefully:

    1. Get a padded envelope, a small crush-proof container (like a film canister or small plastic bottle) that fits inside the envelope, and a piece of paper.

    2. Write "" at the top of the piece of paper. This is how the lab knows that the pill is for our program.

    3. On the same piece of paper write the following information:

      • the city and state where the pill was obtained
      • the approximate date of acquisition
      • what it was sold as and what you suspect it to be (if those differ).
      • names the pill is known by, if any (Crown, Dolphin, etc.)

    4. Do not include any other information than this. Do not write your name, address, or specific information about where the material was obtained.

    5. Wrap the payment (cash, bank check, or money order) in this paper and put it in the padded envelope.

      • Include $120 for each sample you are submitting for testing.
      • Money orders can be used for anonymous payment and should be made out to "DDL"
      • Personal checks are NO LONGER accepted by the lab.

    6. Place the whole pill in the crush-proof container. Insert cotton or tissue into the container to prevent the pill from shaking around and breaking during transport. The lab will not accept crushed or partial tablets and the co-pay can not be returned.

    7. Make sure the tablet, paper, and payment are enclosed in the envelope and send it to the following address:

    9700 Business Park Dr., Suite # 407
    Sacramento, CA 95827
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    Bluelight Crew phase_dancer's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    Rather than spend the money first, you might like to do a presumptive test. Froehdes reagent is an excellent indicator of opioids.

    It is made by mixing 0.5g sodium molybdate in 100mL of conc. sulphuric acid.

    Reaction colours:

    Codeine phosphate ---> Green -> Blue

    Dihydrocodeine ---> Yellow

    The more common reagents used in Ecstasy test kits also react to form coloured products but colour differentiation with these substances is more difficult
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    Thanks for the prompt replies, that's really helpful! I think rather than trying to get the chemicals it might be easier to send one of these tablets off. Although if you can tell me how to get the chemicals phase_dancer then I'd use that method happily, I just don't know how to go about it!

    As for sending a pill off to, I have a couple of questions. First, do they accept pills from outside the US? Because I'm in the UK. Secondly, are they OK for testing all pills, not just pills that are being sold as Ecstasy? Lastly, if you don't give them your name and address, how do you get the report of what the pill contained, back?

    It's not actually as expensive as I thought it might be, the price wouldn't be a problem. I've never actually used a money order, are these just bought at post offices or something? I'm not that keen on sending cash, but clearly paying somewhere in the States presents a problem. It's a pity I can't just transfer money to their account. Anyway, thanks very much. I can visit the site and maybe contact someone there as well!
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    Bluelight Crew phase_dancer's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    I can't see why you'd have trouble purchasing either sulfuric acid or the molybdate salt, as both are commonly used and not specifically associated with drugs or explosives. Of course, local laws might prevent you from buying through normal channels but I'd still inquire at your local scientific supplier. Being in the UK, it shouldn't be too much of a problem I wouldn't think.

    If you do decide to make your own reagent, be sure both chemicals are pure (lab grade will probably suffice, analytical grade preferred).

    Another option is to ask a chem supplier which of their clients could make the reagent up for you.
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    Bluelight Crew RavenousBlonde's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    You won't be able to send a pill to EcstasyData - they only accept pills from US residents. AFAIK, they only tests pills that are being sold as ecstasy. You get the test results when they post them up on (Just FYI)

    I'd take phase_dancer's advice and see if you can get the chemicals needed to perform your own tests. Good luck to you!
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    I wouldn't know where to start purchasing sulfuric acid or molybdate salt, but I suppose I would have looked online.

    Anyway, I don't need to. RavenousBlonde, I had an email back from EcstasyData - they don't see a problem accepting pills from the UK:

    I have a few questions first though. I come from the UK not the US -
    can you still do the testing?

    Yes, not a problem.
    and they don't just test pills being sold as Ecstasy:

    I don't know if you could do this analysis, or whether it is
    just Ecstasy tablets that you investigate.

    Our lab can detect almost any of the standard drugs or pharmaceuticals. Novel
    things, much less so. So yes, it should be able to detect dihydrocodeine
    and differentiate it from codeine, I can verify that with them.
    Since I'm in a slightly different position to someone sending in an illegal drug they purchased, they are happy to have my name and address, or email address where they would send the result to. They might also put them up on the site, but seem happy enough to send them out to me:

    The advice tells people not to include their name and address - how do
    they obtain results, is this done by email?

    The results would be published on the site ( and I can send it
    to you in email, if you remind me.

    ......... Let me know if you have more questions,

    So I will get a pill off to them today, I was just waiting for their response to a question about payment. They've said I can pay through their CC system, but I would rather wait until the tablet arrives. Unlike internal US mail, this package has to run the gaultlet of Customs and the risk of it being seized or otherwise lost in the mail. As I don't mind them knowing my identity, I'm hoping they'll email me when it arrives, and I can organise payment then.

    Incidentally, just so you know why I might not reply on here after today - I'm going into hospital tomorrow for a repair to my achilles tendon, which I ruptured back in July. I expect to be offline for about a week.
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    Bluelight Crew RavenousBlonde's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    ^^^ That is good to know. When we formed the Pill Reports Testing Fund, we were told we could only send in pills from the US. I don't have any direct contact with ecstasydata, so I was going off the info I received. Thanks for the additional info.

    Good luck with your surgery!
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    Thanks for your good wishes, I'm back and on the road to recovery. It's a long, painful road, but I'll get there

    I haven't heard that the lab have received my pill yet, and have emailed them. There again I haven't checked that account junk mail yet. We've also had lots of postal strikes in the UK so our mail is all messed up. And it might just be taking a couple of weeks to reach them anyway.

    My main worry is a customs seizure which would be such a waste!

    Anyway, many thanks - I'm really grateful for your help and information, it was just what I was looking for and heh, don't give it a thought about telling me I could only send a pill from the US. You were only giving me what you thought was the true picture and I'm grateful for the help! A quick email sorted it out.
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