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Technical platform for analytical toxicology and pharmaceutical chemistry

Integrated into the forensic medicine department, this platform was created at the end of 2016.

The main purpose of this platform is the identification and testing of narcotic drugs and the control of legal, forged or counterfeit medicines and food supplements or other products of unknown origin suspected of containing medicinal substances. This platform provides assistance to all of the LNS services for identifying unknown components.

The most important aspect of the platform’s activities is routine analysis. This includes

  • analysis of drugs seized by the police and by customs authorities. This activity represents the major part of analysis that is carried out. In 2016, about 3,400 samples of drugs (cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and new synthetic drugs) were analysed. The analysis involved the identification and determination of psychotropics and major impurities (;
  • checking the quality of medicinal products available in Luxembourg, in collaboration with the Division of Pharmacy and Medicines (DPM) of the Ministry of Health;
  • analysis in collaboration with the DPM and customs authorities of products suspected of being spurious or counterfeit medicinal products;
  • analysis in collaboration with the Food Safety Division (DSA) of the Department of Health of dietary supplements and other products of unknown origin that are suspected of containing drugs;
  • analysis for individuals (pharmacists, physicians, private parties and the like) by special request. The checks carried out for compounding pharmacies relate mainly to methadone, which is a substitute for heroin;
  • analysis for the European Pharmacopoeia, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM in Strasbourg) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA, London).

To carry out its responsibilities, the platform has at its disposal state-of-the-art equipment comparable to the most efficient analytical laboratories.

Research projects present and future

Several projects are being implemented, most often in collaboration with universities as well as national and international research institutes.

  • In collaboration with the 4motion Association, the Ministry of Health, the police and judicial authorities, the ‘PiPaPo’ project is involved with the analysis of psychotropic substances voluntarily submitted by consumers during certain music events held in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The main purpose is to get to know more about recreational drugs (cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, ecstasy and cannabis) consumed in Luxembourg, and the aim of the project is to develop it over the long term.
  • Begun in January of 2017 in tandem with the PiPaPo project and in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the ‘Drugs in Wastewater’ project is intended to supplement the available statistics on the use of certain drugs (cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, ecstasy and cannabis) in Luxembourg. Over the medium term, screening for certain medications in wastewater will be integrated into the project. There are also plans to extend this long- term project.
  • The ‘medicinal hemp’ project is a collaboration with the Cannad’Our Company in Kalborn and aims to better characterize the hemp produced in Luxembourg. It is expected to last for a period of 2 years.
  • An international project with the ASOQS (Association pour l’optimisation de la qualité des soins) aims to collect water samples from the Vosges in France and to check for the presence of paracétamol, desloratidine, ivermectine and carbamazépine.

Medium and long-term projects are envisaged,

  • such as the checking of compounded drugs other than methadone and analysis of pharmaceuticals purchased on websites
  • in 2019, the platform should see the completion of its accreditation project.

the team