Analysis of NPS and drugs purchased on Darknet and Clearnet markets
Despite previous projects focussing on NPS, there is no long-term method available for sharing analytical spectra, chemical reference materials or updated information regarding the analytically confirmed composition of NPS offered online versus its presumed identity as advertised. Since virtually all EU member states have reported deaths due to consumption of (mislabelled) NPS acquired online, there is an urgent need to assess the availability of NPS online and determination to what extent the identity of substances agrees with the claims as advertised by the vendor online. After acquiring samples of substances sold online, the content was analytically characterizated using qualitative laboratory techniques, such as GC-MS, LC-MS/MS, FTIR and/ or NMR. Afterwards the assesment is made if the identity and quality of a sold substance corresponds to its presumed or advertised identity. Comparing the aforementioned techniques helps defining the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches used during analysis. The results collected in a database will be shared with the REITOX network. An exhaustive review of the drug checking services techniques, will result in a set of recommendations & guidelines for other drug checking services or forensic laboratories wishing to properly identify NPS. The proficiency testing organised, helps defining the minimum requirements needed to correctly identify a broad scale of NPS and provides a broad overview of NPS purchased online. Participation of the main European drug checking services and its included methodology development and proficiency testing will further streamline current analysis protocols and will ensure validity and comparability of drug analyses throughout Europe.