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Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Groups 1 & 2 (1753V), November 8-10, 2022 Online

This three-day course will be conducted live via Zoom. For more details email

“ I became more confident in performing tests and designing training modules. These microcrystal tests will help reduce our backlog and turnaround time.” — A.H.

“ The course provides an excellent basis for microchemical testing of illicit drugs, which I use on about 95% of my cases.” — M.B.

“The ability to see from the perspective as if we were looking through the microscope was very helpful. It helped to see what we are actually going to look for when doing analysis in our own labs.” — N.S.

“I appreciated some of the tips and helpful techniques that I was able to observe in the online course that I can take back into the laboratory and implement.” — T.S.


Course schedule: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. all three days (Central Time, U.S. and Canada). There will be a one-hour break for lunch and several short breaks throughout the day.

This three-day online course combines McCrone Research Institute’s Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Group 1 (1726V) with Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Group 2 (1727V) and teaches microscopical techniques, including microcrystal tests from the publication, A Modern Compendium of Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs and Diverted Pharmaceuticals. It will emphasize the methods used in polarized light microscopy along with optical crystallography, allowing the microscopist to recognize and identify specific microcrystals formed in the presence of a wide variety of selected drugs.

The course will focus specifically on microcrystal tests for amphetamine, BZP, clonazepam, cocaine, codeine, diazepam, ephedrine, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, MDMA, methadone, methamphetamine, oxycodone, PCP, and pseudoephedrine. Practical applications, pros and cons of microcrystal tests, interferences, limits of detection, and sensitivity will be illustrated. Techniques of small particle manipulation will also be covered.

Prerequisite: Students are required to be employed as a microscopist or trace/physical evidence analyst, or hold a directly related position in a forensic crime laboratory.

Day 1
• Introduction
• Review of Köhler illumination, optical crystallography, crossed-polar techniques, principles of microcrystal analyses, use of microcrystal reference texts, and reagent formulation shorthand
• Small particle handling
• Analysis of cocaine, including common adulterants and excipients

Day 2
• Analysis of heroin, including common adulterants and excipients
• Analysis of BZP, hydromorphone, MDMA, and methadone
• Analysis of clonazepam, diazepam, and PCP

Day 3
• Analysis of amphetamine and methamphetamine (including d- and dl- isomer distinction)
• Analysis of codeine, ephedrine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and pseudoephedrine