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A microcrystalline test is a precipitation reaction between a drug and a reagent, forming an insoluble drug-reagent complex that is unique to that specific test. These tests are quick, requiring minimal sample preparation and can be non-destructive. Therefore, they can be used as preliminary and confirmatory tests with expertise. Microcrystalline tests are one of the oldest analytical chemistry practices and their use for classic drugs such as cocaine, heroin and amphetamines is well-documented. However, there is very limited research on microcrystalline tests for the novel compounds encountered by law enforcement today. This research is an effort to increase understanding and promote use of microcrystalline tests for novel psychoactive substances.


This project was supported by Award No. 2014-R2-CX-K008, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.