Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 1, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Forensic electrochemistry: simultaneous voltammetric detection of MDMA and its fatal counterpart “Dr Death” (PMA)

Author affiliations

Abstract

The simultaneous detection of substances present in drugs of abuse is increasingly important since some materials are known for their high mortality rate. One drug that received considerable attention is para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA), commonly known as ‘Dr Death’ – this substance is linked with several deaths internationally and can often be found together with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in drugs sold under the alias “ecstasy”, a very popular drug of abuse. This work reports for the first time the detection and quantification of MDMA and PMA simultaneously through an electrochemical technique using screen-printed graphite electrodes (SPEs). The electroanalytical sensing of MDMA/PMA, MDMA and PMA are explored directly at bare unmodified SPEs yielding a detection limit (3σ) corresponding to 0.25 μg mL−1/0.14 μg mL−1 for MDMA/PMA, 0.04 μg mL−1 MDMA and 0.03 μg mL−1 PMA. Raman spectroscopy and presumptive colour tests were also performed on MDMA/PMA, MDMA and PMA using the Marquis, Mandelin, Simon's and Robadope tests but were found to not be able discriminate when PMA and MDMA are both present in the same samples. We report a novel electrochemical protocol for the sensing of PMA and MDMA which is independently validated in a synthetic (MDMA/PMA) sample with HPLC.

Graphical abstract: Forensic electrochemistry: simultaneous voltammetric detection of MDMA and its fatal counterpart “Dr Death” (PMA)

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 06 Nov 2015, accepted on 06 Nov 2015 and first published on 13 Nov 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5AY02924D
Citation: Anal. Methods, 2016,8, 142-152
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Forensic electrochemistry: simultaneous voltammetric detection of MDMA and its fatal counterpart “Dr Death” (PMA)

    L. R. Cumba, J. P. Smith, K. Y. Zuway, O. B. Sutcliffe, D. R. do Carmo and C. E. Banks, Anal. Methods, 2016, 8, 142
    DOI: 10.1039/C5AY02924D

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements