Taís Regina Fiorentin1 | Barry K. Logan1,2


1. The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, Willow Grove, PA, USA
2. NMS Labs, Willow Grove, PA, USA


Background: Since it's first implementatation in 1984, Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP) are a critical component of harm reduction interventions among people who inject drugs.. The aim of this work was to use a scientific analytical approach to obtain drug use information through the analysis of the content of used syringes.

Methods: 357 syringes were collected in New York City and submitted to qualitative analysis. Screening analysis was performed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and confirmatory analysis by liquid chromatography quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF). Results: Of the 357 syringes analyzed, 275 (77.0%) were positive for one or more substances. The most common drug of abuse identified was heroin/related substances (72.0%), followed by cocaine/related substance (34.9%), fentanyl/related substance (13.5%), methamphetamine/related substance (7.6%) and furanylfentanyl (3.6%). Quinine/quinidine (18.5%) was the most common cutting agent detected, followed by levamisole (12.0%), caffeine (11.6%), lidocaine (11.6%), and phenacetin (6.9%).

Conclusion: Analysis of samples collected from a drug street scenario allows the identification of new substances being injected and provides information to harm reduction programs to identify strategies to reduce drug abuse.


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