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White Paper – Evolving Approaches And Technologies For Seized Drug Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2023
11 pages

This publication discusses approaches and technologies developed to assist in the analysis of seized drugs.


This white paper introduces evolving approaches and technologies that are available to address existing challenges with the analysis of seized drugs. These challenges include the rapidly evolving nature of the seized drug landscape, including the presence of NPS; the identification of closely related chemical substances, such as positional isomers and diastereomers; minor component detection in mixtures; differentiation of hemp and marijuana, including the analysis of marijuana products, THC isomers, and THC derivatives; the screening of multiple subunits; and seized drug backlogs. The Evolving Approaches and Technologies for Seized Drug Analysis subcommittee developed five technical notes describing techniques that are potential solutions to the identified challenges faced by the seized drug community. These techniques include (1) DART-MS, (2) GCVIR, (3) GC-VUV, (4) UHPLC-PDA UV-MS, and (5) microcrystal tests. In addition, the subcommittee developed a technical note describing best practices for the analysis of marijuana and marijuana products. The approaches and technologies introduced in this paper provide potential solutions for forensic laboratories; however, laboratories should consider the cost, analysis time, capabilities, and limitations of each technique before acquiring new instrumentation. These topics include installation needs, vendor considerations, space requirements, user training, implementation needs, validated methods, searchable libraries, data interpretation, reporting and testimony, and consumables.

Date Published: December 1, 2023