SOFT - TIAFT 1998 Poster Session 4 Friday October 9, 1998

Antonio F. Midio, Ovandir A. Silva, Mariana C. Bei, Irene V. de Lima

College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toxicology, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 580 - 05508-900 S.Paulo, S.P. Brazil

The presence of pharmacologically active adulterants and inert diluents in illicit drugs trafficked in any part of the world is very common. For cocaine in its hydrochloride form (white powder) this is specially true due to the several possibilities of adulteration and dilution this drug presents. Besides being a fraud, the practice of adulterating cocaine may contribute to the toxic effects or even their amplification observed in the abuse of the drug specially for users whose daily intake is several grams. The determination of cocaine content and adulterants in street samples is not only of clinical value but also important for forensic purposes related to the geographical distribution and allocation of the drug. So the objective of this study was to determine the purity and the presence of active adulterants in samples of cocaine hydrochloride trafficked in the city of San Paulo, Brazil in the year of 1996.

In the 2,105 samples of "white powder" seized in this period by the police authorities, 233 were collected on a random basis to be submitted to full analysis in the Toxicology Laboratory of University of San Paulo. Gas-liquid chromatography (FID), thin-layer chromatography and GC-MS for confirmatory analysis were used for the determination of cocaine contents in the samples as well as their adulterants.

The results were as follows: of all samples seized, 2.28% were negative for cocaine and any other pharmacologically active compound; of all samples analyzed in our laboratories 187 (80.26% of the total) consisted of white powder with no more of 30 per cent cocaine; in 24 samples (10.30%) cocaine purity ranged from 30 to 50 per cent and in 13 street samples ( 5.58 %) cocaine purity was between 60 to 80 per cent. In only 9 analyses (3.80 %) was the purity of the cocaine greater than 80 per cent.

Only local anesthetics were found as active adulterants: Lidocaine was found in 8 samples and procaine in only 2. Chemical analysis of street samples of cocaine (white powder) seized in the city of San Paulo, Brazil, showed purity that ranged from <1 to 96.42 per cent with an average of 20.02 per cent.

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