JCJC - Jeunes chercheuses & jeunes chercheurs

Field tests for rapid identification of cocaine and crack – KOCA

Submission summary

Obtained from the leafs of coca and being presented in the form of a white powder, cocaine is the most tested illicit substance if the cannabis is excluded. The crack is a form derived from the cocaïne, obtained by bicarbonate addition. The traffic of cocaine towards the european market does not cease growing (approximately 200 tons/year) and relates from now on to large quantities to France (4.48 tons in 2004 and 5.18 tons in 2005 and more in 2006 [unpublished value]). The diffusion of cocaine does not cease widening in Europe for 10 years, that it is in festive space or urban space. The poeple profile concerned with this consumption became so broad and heterogeneous that it is difficult to determine a standard portrait of the consumer today. Cocaine in its basic form (crack) is not the subject of the same craze in Europe. However, recent studies showed that the crack represents a true threat, in particular for the young people, because the physical dependence is almost immediate and the daily cost of this drug-addiction is much weaker than that of cocaine. The considerable development of the crack observed in the USA may thus occur in Europe very soon. Cocaine is often adulterated, cut or mixed with others subtances by the traffickers, each intermediary of the traffic being able to add a substance such as sugars and alkaloids. The majority of protocols of analysis of illicit subtances requires heavy equipment which allows reliable identifications. This equipment is located on the Laboratories of the Scientific Police. Therefore, the request of field tests for identification of cocaine and crack is of considerable interest for the Police stations located in cities which do not have laboratories of analysis. Introduced in 1973, the test of Scott is the main used to date by police forces as preliminary test on subtances that are suspected to be cocaine. However, this test showed many false positive answers in the presence of additional substances or false negative answers in presence of cocaine. For the whole of these reasons, the development of new selective field indicators of cocaine and crack is of major interest in order to fight against the expansion of these drug-addictions. We wish to develop new simple, practical and cheap colorimetric tests in order to specifically identify cocaine and crack, including when the latter are mixed with other substances. Our objective is to develop new chromophores able to selectively identify cocaine or crack by acid-base reaction after selective extraction, the identification being accompanied by a radical color change. This identification might be performed in liquid – liquid or liquid – solid heterogeneous phases. We suggest to use new quinones owing to their specifically adapted molecular structure.

Project coordination

Olivier SIRI (Université)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

Help of the ANR 150,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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