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The Identification of Illegal Anabolic Steroids in Customs Seizures by GCMS and High Resolution LCMS

The Identification of Illegal Anabolic Steroids in Customs Seizures by GCMS and High Resolution LCMS

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    There have been numerous reports in the news over the last few years of new drugs of abuse becoming available on the UK market. These have included mephedrone, benzylpiperazine and the so-called synthetic cannabinoids found in ‘Spice’ type herbal high products. These have all led to revisions of the misuse of drugs act in an attempt to control their distribution and use. A slightly older problem is the importation of anabolic steroids. In the year 2008/9 there were 802 seizures of anabolic steroids in the UK [1]. Of these, 259 were by the Borders Agency and the remainder by the Police forces. The misuse of drugs act now includes most known anabolic steroids and a generic wording to include most ‘designer’ anabolic steroids.

    In contrast to previous decades where drugs of abuse were produced domestically or smuggled in to the country, many now arrive in bogusly labeled consignments destined for private addresses in the UK. The UK borders agency frequently intercepts shipments of significant size containing unknown white powders. These often do not contain the ‘traditional’ drugs of abuse that are readily identified by technology available at ports of entry to the UK. In such situations, seizures are sent
    for further analysis at laboratories, typically utilising GCMS, in an attempt to make an identification. This approach is often successful where the drug is amenable to GCMS analysis and a reference mass spectrum exists in a library or publication.

    There are occasions however where the drug is not suitable for analysis by GCMS or no reference spectrum is available. In such circumstances the use of high resolution LCMS can aid in the identification process.....

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