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Detection of Date Rape Drugs by Capillary Electrochromatography

NCJ Number
210417
Date Published
June 2003
Length
68 pages
Author(s)
Bruce McCord
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Publication Type
Report (Study/Research)
Grant Number(s)
2002-MU-MU-K002
Annotation
This report describes the methodologies and findings of a series of studies that demonstrated the promising applications of capillary electrophoresis (CE) in the detection of drugs used to incapacitate victims of sexual assault.
Abstract
In recent years, a number of forensic laboratories have begun using CE as an alternative to gas chromatography with nitrogen phosphorus (GC/NPD) to screen for drugs difficult to detect with standard immunoassay techniques. The advantages of CE over traditional drug-screening tools are its simplicity, resistance to fouling, and ability to detect highly polar compounds; however, neutral drugs like benzodiazepines and those with similar structures such as opiates can be difficult to separate with standard CE techniques. Other compounds such as GHB can exist in acidic and neutral forms (GBL), further complicating their analysis. Many of these compounds have been involved in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. The current series of studies explored recently developed electrochromatographic methods to improve the detection of these compounds, including micellar electrochromatography, cyclodextrin-based inclusion complexes, and monolithic stationary phases. These techniques were used to develop a number of novel methods for the detection of drugs implicated in sexual assaults, including GHB, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin. In addition, the researchers developed new procedures that used fluorescence derivatization and inline extraction to improve the detection of trace levels of these drugs in biological fluids. Also, microfluidic approaches were investigated in the interest of providing an inexpensive implementation of these techniques in small forensic laboratories. Overall, the experiments demonstrated an exceptional flexibility and range of applications for CE in detecting "date-rape drugs." 33 figures, 4 tables, 58 references, and appended list of 6 papers published and in preparation based on this work
Date Created: July 6, 2005