Fourier transform Raman spectroscopy (FT-Raman) is investigated as a simple and rapid method for the determination of the abused drug methamphetamine and its related compounds. Compounds can be reliably identified by using measurements made nondestructively and without the need for any sample preparation in around 1 min. The Raman spectrum of methamphetamine hydrochloride (MA) shows clear differences in spectra from a range of its related compounds such as amphetamine sulfate and ephedrine hydrochloride. These differences are adequate for spectral differentiation of the compounds. With the use of the FT-Raman technique, MA is also reliably identifiable to a detection limit of 1% (w/w) diluted in sodium chloride or water. FT-Raman spectra of MA were recorded through plastic packaging (polyethylene or polypropylene bags) typical of that used either by criminals for transportation or by law enforcement for containing and sealing evidence. Measurements could be made directly without removing the drug from the bag; excellent-quality spectra could be obtained with very little perturbation by the plastic bag.
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