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Development of Modern Microcrystal Tests for Controlled Drugs, Diverted Pharmaceuticals and Bath Salts

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
70 pages

This is the Final Summary Overview of the methodology and findings of a research project that addressed the lack of simple, readily available testing methods for selected controlled substances by developing new microcrystal tests and providing the details of each test.


The project selected 12 controlled substances for testing for which no microcrystal tests are currently available. The 12 drugs and the microcrystal test conditions resulting from this research will be included in the Modern Compendium of Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs and Diverted Pharmaceuticals (Microcrystal Compendium) originally developed and compiled by McCrone Research Institute and available as a free high-resolution PDF. The description of project design and methods addresses the selection and evaluation of reagents (Phase 1); the optics of microcrystals (Phase 2); peer review of protocols (Phase 3); compilation of the microcrystal compendium data (Phase 4); and final reports, preparation of scientific papers, and Microcrystal Compendium additions completed (Phase 5). The researchers believe this project answers the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommendations for this forensic science discipline to "develop rigorous protocols for performing subjective interpretations," and therefore places a more scientific footing on the evaluation of those crystalline precipitates. 1 table and extensive figures

Date Published: April 1, 2020