Journal Published Online: 01 September 2001
Volume 46, Issue 5

SPME/GC-MS Characterization of Volatiles Associated with Methamphetamine: Toward the Development of a Pseudomethamphetamine Training Material



The headspace profiles of eleven methamphetamine (MA) samples have been analyzed using solid-phase microextraction/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME/GC-MS). Nine of the eleven are illicit MA seizures from the Southwest U.S. border. One sample is methamphetamine base synthesized in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Southwest Laboratory, and the remaining sample is pharmaceutical-grade methamphetamine hydrochloride that is used to make training aids for drug detecting canines. In addition, volatiles associated with 1-phenyl-2-propanone (P2P), a methamphetamine precursor, have been identified for comparison with those found in methamphetamine seizure and the two reference samples.

Eighty-seven different compounds were identified from all the samples, not including simple hydrocarbons and aldehydes. Only seven occur consistently in all seizure samples, and these are: acetic acid, benzaldehyde, acetophenone, P2P, 1-phenyl-1,2-propanedione (P12P), 3-phenyl-3-buten-2-one, 1-chloro-1-phenyl-2-propanone. Dimethyl sulfone, a common cutting agent in methamphetamine, was found in six of the nine seizure materials. When the reference methamphetamine and P2P samples are included, only two compounds are common to all twelve samples, and these are benzaldehyde and P2P. As such, these two compounds are likely candidates for use in a pseudomethamphetamine (PM) formulation, and their effectiveness in eliciting a canine response is being evaluated before actual deployment.

Author Information

Vu, D-TT
U.S. Customs Services, Research Laboratory, Springfield, VA
Pages: 11
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JFS15095J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS15095J