View Full Version : Couple of old (c. 2000) forensic science conference poster abstracts

12-11-2003, 00:27
A couple of abstracts I found interesting from the proceedings of the second European academy of forensic science meeting (held in Cracow in 2000). I've posted these here just to keep the data handy for future reference.

Poster abstracts:
Variability of Synthetic Drug Content of Confiscated Tablets in Belgium


National Institute of Forensic Science, Brussel, Belgium

Considerable amounts of tablets containing illicit synthetic drugs are yearly confiscated in Belgium. It has frequently been stated that their content is not constant. Here we report on our findings.

In Figure 1, the range of the MDMA content of the seized tablets is presented per year, starting from 1996. Our results can be summarised as follows:

a. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, the MDMA content of the tablets was rather variable. Overall, the range was between less than 20 mg MDMA and 140 mg MDMA per tablet.

b. In 1999, the MDMA content per tablet was less variable. The majority of the tablets, i.e. about 60%, contained 60 to 100 mg MDMA per tablet. About 90% of the tablets contained 40 to 120 mg MDMA.

c. It is also striking that the availability of tablets containing 100 to 120 mg MDMA has increased considerably in 1999.

In Figure 2, the number of seizures of different synthetic drug compounds and their combinations are presented, again as a function of time. Besides, a number of exceptional seizures is displayed. The main results of this part of the investigations are noteworthy as well:

a. In Belgium, MDMA has always been and still is the major synthetic drug found in tablets.

b. In 1995 and 1996, MDEA became very important, while in 1997 and 1998, MBDB became popular. Both compounds disappeared completely in 1999.

c. Tablets containing 4-MTA, 2C-B, DOB, ketamine, atropine, 1-PEA, and N-methyl-PEA were seized rather exceptionally.

The observed variable synthetic drug content of confiscated tablets can be regarded as a useful parameter in forensic research.

Key words: Tablet, Synthetic drug, MDMA.

Preliminary studies identifying and quantifying trace metal impurities in illicit Ecstasy tablets using atomic spectrometry techniques

Ruth J. H. Waddell, Niamh Nic Daeid, and David Littlejohn

Forensic Science Unit, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom

The physical and chemical profiling of illicit drugs is essential in order to link seizures to common synthetic routes and perhaps even to a common manufacturer. Batches synthesised by the same synthetic route have similar organic impurities present, which, in the case of Ecstasy seizures, may be specific to that route. Conventionally, such impurities are identified using a combination of instrumental methods such as HPLC, GC-FID and GC-MS. However, analysis of the inorganic impurities, namely the trace metal ions, can provide additional information to confirm or dispute links previously established on the basis of the organic impurities alone.

Preliminary ICP-MS analysis of 83 elements in acid-digested tablets from the same seizure indicated significantly higher concentrations of Pb, Cu and Zn compared with the blank digests. Potentially, this rapid, multi-element detection technique could be used to screen seizures in order to identify the most discriminating elements present which could be analysed individually by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ET-AAS).

In this study, a method has been developed for the determination of Pb in illicit Ecstasy tablets, using ET-AAS. With tube wall atomisation, poor Pb recoveries were obtained, especially at low concentrations (10 ng Pb/mL). Significant improvements in Pb recovery of up to 20% were afforded with the insertion of a L'vov platform into the furnace tube.

Key words: Physical and chemical profiling, Trace metals, ET-AAS.

From: http://www.ies.krakow.pl/conferences/enfsi/data/_po.htm

BigTrancer :)

12-11-2003, 03:14
Good find BT. Some interesting (recent) stuff on 4-MTA toxicity on the unmentionable if you're interested.

Wow. I'm both surprised about the lead and that no mercury was mentioned. I imagine that larger operations wouldn't use the Hg/Al amalgam process, but instead hydrogenation with any number of possible catalysts which could possibly explain the copper [?] and zinc traces.

Biscuit may be able to add something. I suppose many things could be the source, not least contamination from the site or equipment.