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electrochemistry in the war on drugs

Derivatization of amphetamine to allow its electrochemical detection in illicit drug seizures

Did you know that amphetamine (AMP) is one of the most encountered drugs-of-abuse in the current illicit market? This means that the development of new tools for its rapid on-site determination is needed. However, the direct electrochemical detection of AMP is a challenge because the molecule is non-electroactive at the potential window of conventional graphite SPEs.

In this article, prepared by the AXES group and the NANOlab Center of Excellence of the University of Antwerp and the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology NICC, a derivatization process to convert the primary amine into an electroactive oxidizable group is presented. This concept has been applied to quantify AMP in 20 seized samples provided by forensic laboratories, exhibiting an accuracy of 97.3±10.5%.

Overall, the fast analysis of samples with the electrochemical profiling of derivatized AMP exhibits a straightforward on-site screening aiming to facilitate the tasks of law enforcement agents in the field.


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