Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2003, $316,222)
Current analytical methods for the analysis of clandestine laboratory evidence primarily focus on the analysis of the organic species using gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and infrared spectrophotometry. Limited wet chemical and instrumental methods are available for identifying inorganic species. In Washington State, clandestine laboratory operators are utilizing two primary methods to reduce pseudoephedrine or ephedrine to form methamphetamine. One method involves the use of an alkali metal (lithium or sodium) with liquid ammonia. The other uses red phosphorus with iodine. Current analytical procedures revolve around identifying the alkali metal, ammonia and reduced methamphetamine (a characteristic byproduct) or red phosphorus, iodine, and characteristic organic byproducts to identify the method. Recent trends in illicit manufacture of methamphetamine include using hypophosphorus acid instead of red phosphorus and the generation of liquid ammonia from fertilizer instead of commercial sources. Analytical protocols are needed that allow these variations to be distinguished.
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