Journal Published Online: 14 September 2005
Volume 50, Issue 6

Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) Methods for Determining the Purity of Reference Drug Standards and Illicit Forensic Drug Seizures



A rapid, sensitive, accurate, precise, reproducible, and versatile method for determining the purity of reference drug standards and the routine analysis of illicit drugs and adulterants using proton (1H) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy is presented.

The methodology uses a weighed sample dissolved in a deuterated solvent or solvent mixture containing a high purity internal standard. The NMR experiment employs 8 scans using a 45 second delay and 90° pulse. In the determination of purity of reference standards, the number of quantitative determinations available is equal to the number of peak groups that are baseline resolved. The relative standard deviation (RSD) of these signals is usually <1% for pure standards, and the results agree well with other purity determining methods. This method can also aid in the determination of correct molecular weight for standards containing an unknown number of waters of hydration or an unknown number of acids per drug in salts.

Because the molar response for the hydrogen nucleus is 1 for all compounds, and since no separation media are used, only one linearity study is required to test a probe. In the presented study, the linearity of the NMR probe was determined using methamphetamine HCl dissolved in deuterium oxide (D2O) with maleic acid as the internal standard (5 mg) for a range of concentrations from 0.033 to 69.18 mg/ml with a resulting correlation coefficient of <0.9999 for all 6 methamphetamine peak groups.

The spectra of complex illicit heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, and cocaine samples are presented, as well as an extensive list of compounds, their solubilities and the solvent(s) and internal standard used.

Author Information

Hays, PA
U.S. Department of Justice, Dulles, VA
Pages: 19
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JFS2005124
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS2005124