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Forensic Seized Drug Analysis: Current Challenges and Emerging Analytical Solutions



Monica Joshi, Edward Sisco


Over the past decade, seized drug analysis has been faced with several unique challenges that have pushed the limits of existing instrumentation and workflows. Practitioners are now often faced with increasing caseloads of complex samples that may contain previously unidentified substances, combined with changing legal requirements. Use of traditional approaches, such as gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), color tests, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) has become nonideal for select cases. This has compelled the seized drug analysis community to explore new implementable instrumentation or data analysis approaches. While researchers, practitioners, and industry partners are constantly working towards the development of solutions that can address these challenges, the road to validation, implementation, and adoption is arduous. Currently, there are techniques that are breaking through these barriers and are at or nearing use in an operational setting. In this overview, we discuss the major challenges facing the seized drug community that can be addressed by advances in analytical approaches. We also highlight some emerging techniques that could be adopted by laboratories in the near-term. The hurdles faced in the implementation and adoption of new techniques, and approaches to lower these barriers, are also discussed.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews


Forensic Science, Seized Drug, Measurement Challenges, Analytical Solutions


Joshi, M. and Sisco, E. (2023), Forensic Seized Drug Analysis: Current Challenges and Emerging Analytical Solutions, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, [online],, (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created April 7, 2023, Updated May 5, 2023