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Raman spectroscopy for forensic examination of β-ketophenethylamine "legal highs": Reference and seized samples of cathinone derivatives

Stewart, S.P., Bell, S.E.J., Fletcher, N.C., Bouazzaoui, S., Ho, Y.C., Speers, S.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2027-2241 and Peters, K.L. (2012) Raman spectroscopy for forensic examination of β-ketophenethylamine "legal highs": Reference and seized samples of cathinone derivatives. Analytica Chimica Acta, 711 . pp. 1-6.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aca.2011.10.018
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Abstract

Raman spectra of a representative range of β-ketophenethylamine (β-KP), the rapidly growing family of cathinone-related "legal high" recreational drugs, have been recorded. These spectra showed characteristic changes that were associated with the pattern of substitution on the aromatic rings, for example, the compounds carrying substituents at the 4- position could be distinguished from 3,4-methylenedioxy "ecstasy" derivatives. They also showed small but detectable changes with differences in substitution on the ethylamine substituent. These features allowed the β-KPs present in seized casework samples to be identified. The seized samples typically contained only small amounts of bulking agents, which meant that the band intensities of these components within averaged data were very small. In contrast, grid sampling normally gave at least some spectra which had a higher than average proportion of the bulking agent(s), which allowed them to also be identified. This study therefore demonstrates that Raman spectroscopy can be used both to provide a rapid, non-destructive technique for identification of this class of drugs in seized samples and to detect minor constituents, giving a composition profile which can be used for drugs intelligence work.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/54018
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