Forensic Toxicology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 174–178 | Cite as

Identification and characterization of a new designer drug thiothinone in seized products

  • Veniero Gambaro
  • Eleonora Casagni
  • Lucia Dell’Acqua
  • Gabriella Roda
  • Lucia Tamborini
  • Giacomo Luca Visconti
  • Francesco Demartin
Short Communication


In the last 10 years, the abuse of designer drugs has proliferated due to the ease of purchase on the Internet. Our research laboratory collaborates with the Financial Police (GdF) analyzing drugs of abuse on behalf of the Court (Procura della Repubblica––Tribunale di Busto Arsizio). Nine products sold on the Internet and suspected to contain illegal substances were brought to our laboratory after a seizure at the Malpensa Airport in Northern Italy. After first routine analyses carried out by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and gas chromatography/flame ionization detection (GC/FID), we were able to exclude all “classical” drugs and common new psychoactive substances (NPSs). This prompted us to deeply analyze the unknown product to identify it by different analytical techniques. The structure of the unknown compound was elucidated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), accurate mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This characterization allowed us to identify the unknown substance as a new designer drug thiothinone, [2-(methylamino)-1-(2-thienyl)-1-propanone]. The X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) pattern and the analytical data presented herein can provide valid support to forensic chemists who may encounter this “legal high” in caseworks. To our knowledge, this is the first scientific disclosure of thiothinone from dubious products.


Thiothinone Thienyl analogue of cathinone NPS GC/MS LC/MS NMR 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no financial or other relations that could lead to a conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veniero Gambaro
    • 1
  • Eleonora Casagni
    • 1
  • Lucia Dell’Acqua
    • 1
  • Gabriella Roda
    • 1
  • Lucia Tamborini
    • 1
  • Giacomo Luca Visconti
    • 1
  • Francesco Demartin
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze FarmaceuticheUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di ChimicaUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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