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Forensic Sci Int. 2014 Oct;243:95-8. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.05.002. Epub 2014 May 20.

Purity and adulterant analysis of crack seizures in Brazil.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Electronic address: fukushima@usp.br.
2
Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil; Department of Clinical and Toxicological Analyses, Faculty of Pharmacy, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil.
3
Núcleo de Toxicologia Forense do Instituto Médico Legal, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
4
Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN), São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
5
Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
6
Department of Clinical and Toxicological Analyses, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Abstract

Cocaine represents a serious problem to society. Smoked cocaine is very addictive and it is frequently associated with violence and health issues. Knowledge of the purity and adulterants present in seized cocaine, as well as variations in drug characteristics are useful to identify drug source and estimate health impact. No data are available regarding smoked cocaine composition in most countries, and the smoked form is increasing in the Brazilian market. The purpose of the present study is to contribute to the current knowledge on the status of crack cocaine seized samples on the illicit market by the police of São Paulo. Thus, 404 samples obtained from street seizures conducted by the police were examined. The specimens were macroscopically characterized by color, form, odor, purity, and adulterant type, as well as smoke composition. Samples were screened for cocaine using modified Scott test and thin-layer chromatographic (TLC) technique. Analyses of purity and adulterants were performed with gas chromatography equipped with flame ionization detector (GC-FID). Additionally, smoke composition was analyzed by GC-mass spectrometry (MS), after samples burning. Samples showed different colors and forms, the majority of which is yellow (74.0%) or white (20.0%). Samples free of adulterants represented 76.3% of the total. Mean purity of the analyzed drug was 71.3%. Crack cocaine presented no correlations between macroscopic characteristics and purity. Smoke analysis showed compounds found also in the degradation of diesel and gasoline. Therefore, the drug marketed as crack cocaine in São Paulo has similar characteristics to coca paste. High purity can represent a greater risk of dependency and smoke compounds are possibly worsening drug health impact.

KEYWORDS:

Adulterants; Crack cocaine; Health impact

PMID:
24887446
DOI:
10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.05.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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