Police Need The Identity Of An Unknown Substance Essay

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Forensic labs are often called into action when police need the identity of an unknown substance to be identified as it could be an illicit drug. There are two major types of tests that can be performed. One is presumptive tests, which indicate the type of substance used, and the other is a confirmatory test, which actually determines the identity of a substance (Watson, 2008).
Recently, new drugs have appeared in the illegal drug market. The new substances claimed to contain “non-Illegal” compounds yet still deliver the psychoactive effects desired. This new class of compounds are now commonly known as “SmartDrugs” and are distributed through internet commerce or “Smart Shops”. Some of the drugs included in the mixtures are cathinones and trytamine analogs of psylocin. The current method of identification is toxicological screening and is proven to have some ineffectiveness at identifying the new compounds. However, new advances in mass spectrometry are expected to broaden the diagnostic spectrum of the toxicological screening, capable of detecting hundreds of compounds at nanomolar levels. New liquid phase separation techniques are coupled with the mass spectrometry for high accuracy at identification (Favretto, 2013).
Other than mass spectroscopy, other methods for the identification of unknown inorganic compounds come from other tests, such as the flame test, solubility test, conductivity test, and pH test. There are also tests using gravimetric analysis,
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