CE39 - Sécurité Globale et Cybersécurité

DEvelopment of an adVanced analytIcal pLatform for trackIng New pSychoactIve Drugs – DEVIL_INSID

Submission summary

The increasing occurrence, on the European market, of new uncontrolled drugs called New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) is an important threat for public health since they are popular in festive events where several consumers died following overdose. In this framework, it is essential to detect all the new synthetized NPS sold on the street market and/or on the internet. Among analytical techniques, high field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a powerful tool, well recognized for elucidating molecular structures and quantifying them within mixtures. However, NMR is generally associated with heavy equipment, maintenance, and high operating costs. In contrast, benchtop NMR spectrometers are low cost, portable and offer an alternative for structure elucidation. Nevertheless major developments are required to make them applicable to the identification of NPS that could be either pure or embedded in mixtures with cutting agents and other NPS also able to have different isomers.
The main objective of this project is to develop a new integrative analytical platform to identify NPS based on low field NMR. The second objective is to turn the new analytical platform into an every day’s life routine equipment for forensic laboratories. To reach this aim, there is an urgent need to develop new NMR techniques able to push the limits of NMR at low field through a better spectral resolution and an improved sensitivity.
On the way to access the structure of NPS, it is essential to link analytical data and structure. Thus, the implementation of an NMR spectral prediction/recognition interface is required to validate the structure of NPS within seized samples. The developed interface will benefit from the contribution of theoretical modeling to predict NMR spectra as well as form the dedicated spectral databases for NPS. Then, different essential bricks of the new NPS integrative analytical platform will have to be combined and will include, i) new highly resolved and sensitive experiments implementable on a 1H, 13C benchtop spectrometer with a gradient coil, ii) a prediction/recognition NMR-based interface using databases and theoretical calculations and iii) other analytical methods like GC-MS and IR to improve and complete the structural elucidation of unknown NPS coming from seizures or sold on internet. Performances of the new developed interface will have to be optimized to make it robust for routine utility. Thus, different samples will have to be investigated with an increasing difficulty from pure NPS to mixtures either of NPS, or with cutting agents. The final step of the project is to ensure the transfer of the NPS analytical platform (methods and equipment) from CEISAM to INPS lab and to implement the new interface as a routine tool in the chemical division of the police department of the INPS forensic laboratory of Lyon.

Project coordination


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.



Help of the ANR 363,095 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2018 - 48 Months

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