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Preventing misidentification of 25I-NBOH as 2C-I on routine GC–MS analyses


25I-NBOH is a novel psychoactive substance (NPS) recently reported to have been found on blotter paper samples seized on the streets of Brazil, and used as a replacement for the NBOMes now scheduled in many countries. The presence of this NPS on the street market may go undetected, because the most widely and routinely utilised analytical technique for drug sample analyses is gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), which can misidentify 25I-NBOH (and indeed the other members of the NBOH series), because of its degradation into 2C-I (and corresponding 2C for the other members of the series) within the injector, unless a derivatization procedure is employed, which is often non-standard. While direct detection of 25I-NBOH under routine GC–MS conditions is still achieved, a slight adjustment in the standard GC–MS method, including shortening of the solvent delay window, was found to enable the detection of an additional peak due to 25I-NBOH degradation. Consequently, the presence of this secondary early chromatographic peak allowed for the distinction between 25I-NBOH and 2C-I using routine GC–MS without resorting to derivatization (or other analytical processes), thus preventing misidentification of 25I-NBOH as 2C-I.

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The authors are thankful to Instituto de Criminalística da Polícia Civil de Minas Gerais (IC-PCMG), Polícia Civil do Distrito Federal (PCDF), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Distrito Federal (FAPDF) and Fundação de Peritos em Criminalística Ilaraine Acácio Arce (FPCIAA) for providing the samples used in this study and for technical and financial support. José Coelho Neto is supported by Fundo de Incentivo à Pesquisa da Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (FIP-PUC MINAS).

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Correspondence to José Coelho Neto.

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Coelho Neto, J., Andrade, A.F.B., Lordeiro, R.A. et al. Preventing misidentification of 25I-NBOH as 2C-I on routine GC–MS analyses. Forensic Toxicol 35, 415–420 (2017).

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  • 25I-NBOH
  • 2C-I
  • NPS
  • Misidentification
  • Thermal degradation
  • GC–MS