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Statistical and Mass Spectral Tools for the Identification and Characterization of Synthetic Phenethylamines

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2018
46 pages
This is the Final Summary Overview of a NIJ-funded project that developed methods which aid in both the identification and characterization of synthetic designer drugs, focusing initially on three structural subclasses of the synthetic phenethylamines.

For identification, a statistical comparison method was refined and applied to show comparison of two mass spectra with a statistical assessment of the veracity of the identifications. For characterization, mass spectral features of the three synthetic phenethylamines subclasses were then probed to identify those features that were sufficiently characteristic of the subclass. These features were the basis of a flow-chart style characterization scheme, intending that such a scheme could characterize a new analog according to structural subclass. Further, the utility of high-resolution mass spectrometry for designer drug characterization was demonstrated. Mass defect of an ion was determined and used to increase specificity in the characterization. Project findings will be disseminated as a webinar by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, The tools developed in this project can be used to increase confidence in the identification and characterization of synthetic designer drugs, including newly emerging analogs for which no reference material exists. Project design and methods are summarized. 1 figure and 5 references

Date Published: July 1, 2018