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Deconinck E, Polet MA, Canfyn M, Duchateau C, De Braekeleer K, van Echelpoel R, De Wael K, Gremeaux L, Degreef M, Balcaen M. Drug Test. Anal. 2023; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2023, John Wiley and Sons)






More and more countries and organisations emphasise the value of harm reduction measures in the context of illicit drug use and abuse. One of these measures is drug checking, a preventive action that can represent a quick win by tailored consultation on the risks of substance use upon analytical screening of a submitted sample. Unlike drop-in centres that operate within a fixed setting, enabling drug checking in a harm reduction context at events requires portable, easy to use analytical approaches, operated by personnel with limited knowledge of analytical chemistry. In this case study, four different approaches were compared for the characterisation of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine samples and this in the way the approaches would be applied today in an event context. The four approaches are mid-infrared (MIR), near-infrared, and Raman spectroscopy, which are today used in drug checking context in Belgium, as well as an electrochemical sensor approach initially developed in the context of law enforcement at ports. The MIR and the electrochemical approach came out best, with the latter allowing for a direct straightforward analysis of the percentage 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (as base equivalent) in the samples. However, MIR has the advantage that, in a broader drug checking context, it allows to screen for several molecules and so is able to identify unexpected active components or at least the group to which such components belong. The latter is also an important advantage in the context of the growing emergence of new psychotropic substances.

Language: en


3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA); ATR-(N)IR; drug checking; electrochemical detection; mobile detection approaches


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