Industry News

How should seized drugs be identified?

US Drug enforcement administration (DEA) and Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) co-sponsored the formation of a technical group now known as the Scientific Working Group for the analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG). The group is tasked with recommending minimum standards to identify seized drugs as there are a number of analytical techniques for seized drug identification. Not all techniques are made equal. Each has its own merits and de-merits.
SWGDRUG group first classified all techniques into three categories based on their maximum potential discriminatory power (ability to uniquely identify among a large number of drugs) with category A being the highest and C being the lowest (See Table Below).



For confirmatory analysis of drugs, SWGDRUG recommends the use of multiple un-correlated techniques for drug identification. Specifically, it recommends that two different validated techniques are incorporated into the analytical scheme and one of which should be a Category A technique. When a Category A technique is not used, then at-least three different validated techniques should be employed, two of which should be Category B. ASTM, an internationally recognized body for standards has also adopted the same guidelines.


Though these guidelines are meant for laboratories, MFL-3000 follows the recommended guidelines for drug identification in the field. MFL-3000 incorporates two techniques – Raman spectroscopy (a Category A technique) and Pharmaceutical identifiers (a Category B technique) for prescription drug identification. Any Rx drug identified with MFL-3000 would meet the recommendations laid out by SWGDRUG and ASTM. Additionally, the use of color kits in conjunction with MFL-3000 would meet the requirements for illicit drugs enabling confirmatory identification in the field.