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Synthetic Cathinones Stored in Biological Evidence Can Be Unstable

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2018
2 pages
This is a summary report of an evaluation of 22 synthetic cathinones to determine their stability in biological samples, such as urine and blood,

The study stemmed from a concern that cathinones stored in blood and urine samples might degrade if stored in certain environments, making later measurements of drug levels in the samples unreliable. The study's overall conclusion is that synthetic cathinones can be unstable when stored in blood or urine samples, making court testimony regarding their analysis unreliable. Cathinone stability was assessed in preserved blood and urine at two concentrations and four storage temperatures to reflect frozen and refrigerated long-term and short-term storage temperatures in the laboratory. The samples were also exposed to room temperatures during processing and handling, as well as to elevated temperatures (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit). This was to simulate what might be experienced by samples during shipping and transport. Cathinones were found to be most stable when frozen in acidic urine and least stable under alkaline (high pH) conditions at elevated temperatures. Under some conditions, drugs were completely undetectable within 24 hours of storage. Researchers ranked the stability of all 22 cathinones. Although some samples were more unstable than others, instability and the magnitude of the loss was strongly influenced by temperature, pH, and structural characteristics. Increased temperatures and pH were highly unfavorable and produced significant changes in drug concentration over time.

Date Published: February 1, 2018