The analysis of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is problematic because it is hygroscopic, it lacks a good UV chromophore, and it undergoes heat-induced cyclization. This paper presents a new method utilizing ion-exchange chromatography (IC) with conductivity detection. The simple sample preparation, rapid analysis time, and inorganic anion detection capabilities are all advantages over the current methods. The detection of inorganic salts (formed during GHB synthesis) gives insight into the synthetic route utilized and can aid in drug seizure comparison. The developed method has a detection limit for GHB anions of 0.57mg/L and chloride of 0.22mg/L. A comparison of this technique with a current gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technique is presented, and a t-test found that the two methods' results are not statistically different at the 99.9% confidence level demonstrating the merits of this fast, simple, and informative IC method as a routine screening tool.
- Forensic science
- Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
- Illicit drugs
- Ion-exchange chromatography