A developing problem within the illicit drug market is the increasing use of opioids and their analogues. Among these opiates is the potent synthetic analgesic, fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 – 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a very powerful opiate agonist of μ-opioid receptors in the brain. Fentanyl drugs can be classified into registered therapeutic fentanyl and illicitly produced fentanyl and its analogues. One of the illicitly produced analogues that has recently been encountered within forensic laboratories is fluorofentanyl. Para-fluorofentanyl activates the human μ-opioid receptor with greater potency than fentanyl.

Para-Fluorofentanyl is the only isomer that is federally controlled by the DEA. Para-Fluorofentanyl is federally a Schedule I controlled substance. The ortho and meta isomers are currently not federally scheduled. Differentiation of these isomers can be achieved via infrared spectroscopy. DiscovIR® coupled with a Dani-GC offers forensic chemists conclusive infrared spectra for each compound in a mixture. This application will show the analysis and differentiation of the fluorofentanyl isomers.

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