Color tests for the preliminary identification of methcathinone and analogues of methcathinone

Drug Enforcement Administration
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Microgram Journal, 2012, 9 (1), pp. 27 - 32
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The abuse of methcathinone (MCAT) and analogues of methcathinone has increased markedly in jurisdictions worldwide in recent years. For example, in Australia the rate of recent use of 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) by regular methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) users rose from less than 1% in 2009 to 16% in 2010 [1,2]. These ß-keto analogues of amphetamines [3], are stimulants with empathogenic effects [4]. The structures of analogues of methcathinone included in this study are summarised in Table 1. Color tests still remain an important tool for the preliminary identification of illicit drugs in spite of developments in instrumental technology and the increased portability of this technology which enables its use in the field. As recently as 2000, 86% of laboratories surveyed still frequently used color tests when testing for illicit drugs [5]. The popularity of color tests arises from the fact that they are generally simple, quick, inexpensive, and quite sensitive [6]. They are readily available and require minimal materials. These factors enable color tests to be used in the field and can be employed by those without extensive chemical backgrounds.
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