EVALUATION OF COCAINE SAMPLES SEIZED IN THE STREETS OF THE STATE OF RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Fifty-two samples of street cocaine seized in the state of Rio de Janeiro, from May 2016 to April 2017, were evaluated according to their purity, presence of inorganic and sugar diluents and concentration of pharmacologically active adulterants. Cocaine contents, as well as the adulterants caffeine, lidocaine and phenacetin, were evaluated by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The samples were screened by Raman spectroscopy for the presence of inorganic diluents and carbohydrates. The main diluents were calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, which were found in 93% and 71% of the cocaine hydrochloride samples, respectively. Caffeine was found in 91% of the cocaine hydrochloride samples, while phenacetin was found in all freebase cocaine samples. Freebase cocaine samples were majorly composed of pharmacological active compounds (adulterants), unlike cocaine hydrochloride samples, which were majorly composed of inorganic compounds (diluents). It could be observed, by Raman Spectroscopy associated to multivariate analysis, similarities on cocaine hydrochloride composition according to certain criminal gangs. The percentage of pharmacological active compounds varied significantly on the analyzed samples, showing that these adulterants are indiscriminately added to street cocaine, what may increase consumers’ health risks.