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Sci Justice. 2013 Dec;53(4):425-32. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Evaluation of the composition of street cocaine seized in two regions of Brazil.

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Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Minas Gerais, PO Box 702, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. Electronic address:


This work evaluates cocaine purity and the concentration ranges of adulterants and inorganic constituents for 31 street cocaine samples seized in two different regions of Brazil from July 2008 to May 2010. Cocaine and adulterants, such as caffeine, lidocaine and benzocaine, were quantified by Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and the inorganic constituents were determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) and ion chromatography (IC). The cocaine concentrations in the samples seized in the Amazonas state (AM samples) ranged from 154 to 978mgg(-1), and these samples did not contain any of the adulterants studied. The cocaine concentrations in the samples seized in the Minas Gerais state (MG samples) ranged from 63.9 to 753mgg(-1). Caffeine was the main adulterant found in 76% of the MG samples, ranging in concentration from 5.5 to 645.3mgg(-1). Lidocaine was found in 66.7% of the MG samples, with concentrations ranging from 16.3 to 576.7mgg(-1). Benzocaine was found in only one MG sample, at a concentration of 84.8mgg(-1). Fourteen elements were identified by ICP-OES, and a wide variation was observed in the concentrations of Ca, Mg, Na, P, Al, Fe, Mn and Zn. Pearson Product-moment Correlations between the analytes allowed the constituents to be associated with the chemicals used in the manufacturing of cocaine and with some common diluents. The study of the purity of cocaine and the presence and concentration of adulterants and inorganic constituents is important because the latter can have deleterious effects on health.


Adulterants; Brazil; Inorganic constituents; Purity; Street cocaine

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