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Illicit Drug Research Reveals Clandestine Clues

Illicit Drug Research Reveals Clandestine Clues

Date Published: 09-Nov-14

New ChemCentre research is helping authorities across Australia tackle clandestine drug laboratories by revealing important clues about the chemical processes used.

Drug manufacturing processes seen at clandestine drug laboratories across the country vary greatly. Understanding the by-products made during each of these processes can provide authorities with invaluable leads and intelligence.

As a chemist in ChemCentre’s clandestine drug laboratories team Richard Donovan is an expert in the methods used to manufacture methylamphetamine in Western Australia.

One particular method prominent in WA is rarely seen in other parts of Australia making Richard’s knowledge and research into this method vital to clan lab analysis and drug profiling in general.

Richard’s research focuses on the specific by-products that result from the manufacturing process seen in WA. Each manufacturing route results in different by-products depending on the chemicals initially used and reacted throughout the process.

“By identifying specific by-products it is anticipated that intelligence will be able to be gleaned in relation to the source of the starting chemicals, which can then be fed back into the policing process,” - Richard explained.

Richard presented his research at the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) Symposium held in Adelaide in September.  His presentation focused on how the Western Australian perspective of his research can be applied to authorities across the country.

ANZFSS recognised the importance of Richard’s work with the WA branch of ANZFSS awarding him a scholarship to attend and present at the conference.

Richard said it was great to be given the opportunity to present his research to interstate and international colleagues with his research expected to be published in the Journal of the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Association.

Richard was also joined by a team of three ChemCentre forensic scientists who presented case studies and research on a variety of topics such as the analysis of drugs and health supplements in the human body and process improvements in the laboratory.

For more information on ANZFSS check out their website.

You can find out more about the forensic science performed at ChemCentre here.

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