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Use of Microcrystal Tests in Conjunction With Fourier Transform Infra Red Spectroscopy for the Rapid Identification of Street Drugs

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 37 Issue: 4 Dated: (July 1992) Pages: 1134-1148
Date Published
15 pages
Microcrystal tests have long been used for the rapid identification of particulates, although the technique has now been largely abandoned in favor of sophisticated instrumentation.
Still, the sensitivity and specificity of a microcrystal test make it an attractive method for initially screening powders for drugs of abuse. By combining the techniques of crystal microscopy and micro Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, both preliminary and confirmatory tests for the presence of drugs in solid dosage forms can be carried out. This approach has been used to identify cocaine, heroin, morphine, codeine, and phencyclidine. The authors conclude that microcrystal reagents in conjunction with FTIR spectroscopy offer a rapid method for the examination of street drugs. A preliminary test and structural confirmation can be achieved in a few minutes, without the need to extract the drug from any excipients. Further, microcrystal tests are sensitive, allowing the detection of microgram drug quantities. In addition, common diluents such as sugar, starch, and other drugs do not interfere with the analysis. 4 references and 12 figures

Date Published: January 1, 1992