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Cuypers E, Bonneure AJ, Tytgat J. 
“The use of presumptive color tests for new psychoactive substances”. 
Drug Testing and Analysis. 2014 July 1.
In daily routine analysis of seized drugs, it is important to have a fast and simple method to define the class of drug one is dealing with. Therefore, presumptive colour tests are generally used on site by police as well as forensic laboratories since they are inexpensive and readily available without any use of analytical equipment. Although colour tests are widely used, only a few recent articles can be found describing their liability and validation.[1–4] Most described presumptive tests are developed for ‘classic’ drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, etc. Nevertheless, new psychoactive substances (NPS) emerge every day on the market. NPS are defined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as substances of abuse, either in a pure form or a preparation and including medicinal products and related substances, that are not controlled by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, but which may pose a public health threat.[5,6] The main new NPS encountered on illicit markets today can be divided into several groups: synthetic cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids, piperazines, and phenethylamines. In the UK, for example, tight sets of generic definitions are in place, which result in the control of entire compound classes, while in Belgium, there is no generic regulation, meaning only published compounds are illegal. Even so it is of great importance to be able to identify them in order to have an idea of how widespread they are. The question arises if (commercial) colour tests are able and can be routinely used to detect NPS. Therefore, more than 40 NPS including synthetic cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids, piperazines and phenethylamines were tested using (MMC international) presumptive colour tests.
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