Development of a quantitative method for the analysis of cocaine analogue impregnated into textiles by Raman spectroscopy

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Nov 9, 2017
  • Author: Linda Xiao, Rhiannon Alder, Megha Mehta, Nadine Krayem, Bianca Cavasinni, Sean Laracy, Shane Cameron, Shanlin Fu
  • Journal: Drug Testing and Analysis


Cocaine trafficking in the form of textile impregnation is routinely encountered as a concealment method. Raman spectroscopy has been a popular and successful testing method used for in situ screening of cocaine in textiles and other matrices. Quantitative analysis of cocaine in these matrices using Raman spectroscopy has not been reported to date. This study aimed to develop a simple Raman method for quantifying cocaine using atropine as the model analogue in various types of textiles. Textiles were impregnated with solutions of atropine in methanol. The impregnated atropine was extracted using less hazardous acidified water with the addition of potassium thiocyanate (KSCN) as an internal standard for Raman analysis. Despite the presence of background matrix signals arising from the textiles, the cocaine analogue could easily be identified by its characteristic Raman bands. The successful use of KSCN normalised the analyte signal response due to different textile matrix background interferences and thus removed the need for a matrix‐matched calibration. The method was linear over a concentration range of 6.25–37.5 mg/cm2 with a coefficient of determination (R2) at 0.975 and acceptable precision and accuracy. A simple and accurate Raman spectroscopy method for the analysis and quantification of a cocaine analogue impregnated in textiles has been developed and validated for the first time. This proof‐of‐concept study has demonstrated that atropine can act as an ideal model compound to study the problem of cocaine impregnation in textile. The method has the potential to be further developed and implemented in real world forensic cases.

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