Introduction and Aims: Hundreds of new psychoactive substances (NPS) have burst into the marketplace, making both the scientific community and people who use drugs lacking of adequate information about their diffusion and effects. In this scenario, drug-checking services have been recently proposed to assist harm reduction policies and provide a global description of the circulating drugs. Design and Methods: The results obtained by a portable Raman spectroscopy device on 472 alleged drugs within the first formal implementation of drug checking in Italy, are reported. The testing was made through a plastic bag held by the applicant and containing the alleged drug. The substance identification was executed by comparison with a spectral library. Results: Illicit substances were detected in 304 samples. Findings included MDMA (106 samples), ketamine (87 samples), cocaine (51 samples), amphetamine (47 samples), methamphetamine (two samples), heroin (two samples) and NPS (nine samples). Two samples were identified as precursors of psychoactive substances. Identification of a non-controlled substance occurred in 38 samples. Output of inconclusive result was recorded from 128 samples tested on-site, from which the applicant allowed us to collect a small portion in 68 cases, for a delayed laboratory analysis by GC–MS or LC–MS/MS. Discussion and Conclusions: Drug checking by Raman spectroscopy proved effective to identify psychoactive drugs including NPS and track the drug distribution in various recreational settings. The field testing activity revealed the presence of several NPS in the nightlife scenario, often in replacement of traditional illicit drugs, thus posing a high overdose risk and a life-threatening situation.

On-site identification of psychoactive drugs by portable Raman spectroscopy during drug-checking service in electronic music events

Vincenti M.;Salomone A.
2019-01-01

Abstract

Introduction and Aims: Hundreds of new psychoactive substances (NPS) have burst into the marketplace, making both the scientific community and people who use drugs lacking of adequate information about their diffusion and effects. In this scenario, drug-checking services have been recently proposed to assist harm reduction policies and provide a global description of the circulating drugs. Design and Methods: The results obtained by a portable Raman spectroscopy device on 472 alleged drugs within the first formal implementation of drug checking in Italy, are reported. The testing was made through a plastic bag held by the applicant and containing the alleged drug. The substance identification was executed by comparison with a spectral library. Results: Illicit substances were detected in 304 samples. Findings included MDMA (106 samples), ketamine (87 samples), cocaine (51 samples), amphetamine (47 samples), methamphetamine (two samples), heroin (two samples) and NPS (nine samples). Two samples were identified as precursors of psychoactive substances. Identification of a non-controlled substance occurred in 38 samples. Output of inconclusive result was recorded from 128 samples tested on-site, from which the applicant allowed us to collect a small portion in 68 cases, for a delayed laboratory analysis by GC–MS or LC–MS/MS. Discussion and Conclusions: Drug checking by Raman spectroscopy proved effective to identify psychoactive drugs including NPS and track the drug distribution in various recreational settings. The field testing activity revealed the presence of several NPS in the nightlife scenario, often in replacement of traditional illicit drugs, thus posing a high overdose risk and a life-threatening situation.
2019
38
1
50
56
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1465-3362
drug checking; harm reduction; NPS; Raman
Gerace E.; Seganti F.; Luciano C.; Lombardo T.; Di Corcia D.; Teifel H.; Vincenti M.; Salomone A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1727818
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