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Chemical profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) tablets seized in Hong Kong.
J Forensic Sci. 2003 Nov; 48(6):1249-59.JF

Abstract

During 2000-2001, the Government Laboratory of Hong Kong received over 600,000 ecstasy tablets in more than 2,600 cases. Using GC-MS or FTIR, the major amphetamine-type stimulants were identified, and the samples were categorized into four groups containing: (1) 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), (2) methamphetamine (MA), (3) 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), or (4) amphetamine. Our study revealed that in Hong Kong MDMA tablets have made up 98 and 71% of the total ecstasy tablets examined in 2000 and 2001, respectively. Among the MDMA cases, 613 cases involving a total of 123,776 tablets in 2001 were randomly selected, and their active ingredients, minor ingredients, and/or impurities were studied using GC-MS and HPLC. Based on the chemical profiles, and irrespective of their different physical characteristics, tablets obtained in different seizures could be determined as to whether or not they could have come from a common origin. The impurities detected in the MDMA tablets also served as excellent chemical markers from which plausible synthetic route(s) of the MDMA were inferred. Our study revealed that 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanone (MDP2P), 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanol (MDP), 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylbenzylamine (MDB), piperonal and N-formyl-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (N-formyl-MDMA) were the most common impurities detected in MDMA tablets seized in Hong Kong. The finding of the phosphate salt of MDMA is intriguing. Based on a presumptive color test, spectroscopic data (FTIR/ESI-MS) and the percentage of MDMA content in a purified phosphate salt of MDMA, the ratio of the phosphate to MDMA was determined to be 1:1, suggesting that the compound is a dihydrogen phosphate salt [i.e. (HMDMA)H2PO4].

Authors+Show Affiliations

Forensic Science Division, Government Laboratory, 88 Chung Hau Street, Homantin Government Offices, Homantin, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

14640267

Citation

Cheng, Wing-Chi, et al. "Chemical Profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Tablets Seized in Hong Kong." Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol. 48, no. 6, 2003, pp. 1249-59.
Cheng WC, Poon NL, Chan MF. Chemical profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) tablets seized in Hong Kong. J Forensic Sci. 2003;48(6):1249-59.
Cheng, W. C., Poon, N. L., & Chan, M. F. (2003). Chemical profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) tablets seized in Hong Kong. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 48(6), 1249-59.
Cheng WC, Poon NL, Chan MF. Chemical Profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Tablets Seized in Hong Kong. J Forensic Sci. 2003;48(6):1249-59. PubMed PMID: 14640267.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Chemical profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) tablets seized in Hong Kong. AU - Cheng,Wing-Chi, AU - Poon,Nai-Leung, AU - Chan,Man-Fai, PY - 2003/12/3/pubmed PY - 2004/2/5/medline PY - 2003/12/3/entrez SP - 1249 EP - 59 JF - Journal of forensic sciences JO - J. Forensic Sci. VL - 48 IS - 6 N2 - During 2000-2001, the Government Laboratory of Hong Kong received over 600,000 ecstasy tablets in more than 2,600 cases. Using GC-MS or FTIR, the major amphetamine-type stimulants were identified, and the samples were categorized into four groups containing: (1) 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), (2) methamphetamine (MA), (3) 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), or (4) amphetamine. Our study revealed that in Hong Kong MDMA tablets have made up 98 and 71% of the total ecstasy tablets examined in 2000 and 2001, respectively. Among the MDMA cases, 613 cases involving a total of 123,776 tablets in 2001 were randomly selected, and their active ingredients, minor ingredients, and/or impurities were studied using GC-MS and HPLC. Based on the chemical profiles, and irrespective of their different physical characteristics, tablets obtained in different seizures could be determined as to whether or not they could have come from a common origin. The impurities detected in the MDMA tablets also served as excellent chemical markers from which plausible synthetic route(s) of the MDMA were inferred. Our study revealed that 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanone (MDP2P), 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanol (MDP), 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylbenzylamine (MDB), piperonal and N-formyl-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (N-formyl-MDMA) were the most common impurities detected in MDMA tablets seized in Hong Kong. The finding of the phosphate salt of MDMA is intriguing. Based on a presumptive color test, spectroscopic data (FTIR/ESI-MS) and the percentage of MDMA content in a purified phosphate salt of MDMA, the ratio of the phosphate to MDMA was determined to be 1:1, suggesting that the compound is a dihydrogen phosphate salt [i.e. (HMDMA)H2PO4]. SN - 0022-1198 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/14640267/Chemical_profiling_of_34_methylenedioxymethamphetamine__MDMA__tablets_seized_in_Hong_Kong_ L2 - https://medlineplus.gov/clubdrugs.html DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -