Paper #1

Mass Spectrometry

According to our textbook, mass spectrometry is a specific test used to identify a drug substance (Saferstein, 2020). This test is preceded by other tests that should rule out the possibility of a multitude of drugs. The test must confirm any probability of another substance that may respond identically to the scheme of the selected tests (Saferstein, 2020). The tester has to be able to rule out the ability of any other substance reacting the exact way that the suspected drug would to the specific test in order to have a positive identification of the drug. The positive identification of the suspected drug is important, and if not properly identified could lead to further scrutiny of the test conducted to identify. The test will first begin with the screening process to attempt to narrow down his or her possibilities of pinpointing the suspected drug. The screening test is the first step in analyzing a drug and is extremely important in the identification process. A screening test reduces the possibilities of the drug to a small and manageable number (Saferstein, 2020). The screening test can have either positive or negative results. The negative results are important as they still help in narrowing down the suspected substances. Once the screening test is completed, the test can then take their results and continue testing their positive results. The test will then move to the second phase of their analysis, which is the confirmation (Saferstein, 2020). The confirmation takes the positive results and involves further testing and this is the phase that a specific test like mass spectrometry comes into play. A test like mass spectrometry allows the test to make a positive identification of their suspected drug. Mass spectrometry is considered to be the golden analytical tool because of its ability to characterize direct molecular structural information of applicable analyte molecules (Habib et al., 2021).


Habib, A., Bi, L., Hong, H., and Wen, L. (2021). Challenges and Strategies of Chemical Analysis of Drugs of Abuse and Explosives by Mass Spectrometry. Frontiers in Chemistry, NA.

Saferstein R., Roy T. (2020). Criminalistics. [Savant Learning Systems]. Retrieved from

Joseph Mathenge

Author Since: February 25, 2021