by blogger jld
GHB was a drug initially developed to treat illnesses such as anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Recently it has been abused as a recreational drug and more violently as a date rape drug. Researchers in the UK have been developing a method to invent a portable Raman Spectroscopy test as well as a bench test to detect GHB and GHL in alcoholic beverages as well as storage vials. They tested different storage containers that could be used to hold GHB as well as variations in type and concentration of alcoholic beverages. They concluded that it was a useful method to test for GHB in the field to compliment more thorough tests done in the laboratory.
|Forensic analysis usually relies on high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance or infra-red spectroscopy. Moreover, it usually requires the extraction of the drug from a suspect sample before analysis is possible. Raman spectroscopy, on the other hand, is a quick and simple, non-destructive technique that provides qualitative and quantitative information. It might therefore be used to identify substances at the scene of crime or at customs inspection points at shipping ports and airports. The sample need not be removed from the transparent container in which it is found. |
"We are able to detect GHB and GBL in a variety of containers including colourless and amber glass vials, plastic vials and polythene bags," explain the researchers, "We have also demonstrated the ability to detect both GBL and GHB in a range of liquid matrices simulating spiked beverages." The lower concentration limit was 1% w/v, which is significantly lower than the common dosage level the team says.
"This work clearly demonstrates that portable Raman spectrometers can be used to interrogate samples in situ," the researchers conclude, "allowing a more thorough investigation of key samples by Raman and other analytical techniques in a forensic laboratory where applicable."
It seems that this new portable system may be useful in airports or property searches but it does not have much practical use once a crime has been committed. The chances of finding a left over drink to test for GHB after the victim has left a bar or a party are pretty slim.