May 15 – 20, 2022
Casino Conference Centre
Europe/Prague timezone

Potential of INAA in elemental analysis of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine

May 17, 2022, 6:10 PM


Poster Nuclear Analytical Methods Nuclear Analytical Methods


Dr Jan Kameník (Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences)


The analysis of illicit drugs composition is required for effective actions of Law Enforcement Agencies. Determination of major as well as trace elements provides additional parameters that could help in identification of drugs origin. Heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine samples were assayed by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) for determination of mass fractions of several elements. For completeness, a set of adulterants used for drugs cutting was also included in the study. The results suggested that INAA with short time irradiation was especially attractive due to its simplicity and short turnaround time. Some adulterants are specific in significantly different content of chlorine in comparison to heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine (all three as hydrochlorides). Therefore, chlorine analysis has the potential to estimate adulterant used and its quantity. Iodine was quantified in all methamphetamine samples, and mass fractions span four orders of magnitude. This could indicate specific compounds and procedures used in production. Despite INAA unsatisfactory detection limit of sulfur for most materials, its mass fraction was determined in several drug samples. High sulfur content most probably indicated that methylsulfonylmethane and levamisole were used as cutting agents.


The research was supported by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic under project VI20192022162.

Primary author

Dr Jan Kameník (Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences)


Dr Martin Kuchař (Forensic Laboratory of Biologically Active Substances, Department of Chemistry of Natural Compounds, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Czech Republic) Jan Kučera (Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences) Jozef Sabol (Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague) Ivana Krausová (Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences)

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