Identifying and quantifying MDMA on-site in suspected illicit drug samples is a major challenge for law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Various analytical techniques exist to fulfil this goal, e.g. colourimetry and portable spectroscopic techniques, each having its specific limitations and strengths.
In this work, prepared by the University of Antwerp and the National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC), for the first time, an electrochemical MDMA sensor, developed within BorderSens project, is presented to become a detection tool that can realistically be used on-site.
The novel methodology outperformed the spectroscopic techniques, correctly identifying all 15 street samples. Additionally, the electrochemical sensor predicted the purity of the tablets with a mean absolute error of 2.3%. Overall, this new, electrochemical detection strategy provides LEAs the rapid, low-cost, on-site detection and quantification of MDMA in suspicious samples, without requiring specialized training.
Full article has been published in Microchemical Journal and can be found here.