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The Appearance, Taste, and Concentrations of Zolpidem Dissolved in Still Water and Carbonated Beverages

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Zolpidem is a sedative that could be used to drug victims, but its suitability to dissolve in drinks is unknown. In this small study, we added either crushed or whole tablets of zolpidem hemitartrate to carbonated beverages or still water to observe how this affected the taste and appearance. Also, concentrations were measured by ultra‐high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry at different time intervals. Two crushed tablets (20 mg) in cider (250 mL) lead to a maximum concentration of 84 mg/L zolpidem base after 30 min, while the corresponding concentration after adding fifteen tablets (150 mg) was 467 mg/L. There was little change in taste, but froth and turbidity were observed when adding high doses to carbonated beverages. Carbonated beverages spiked with 20 mg of crushed zolpidem hemitartrate tablets reached concentrations that could cause impairment. Spiking with 150 mg could possibly be lethal if several mouthfuls were ingested.
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Keywords: date rape drug; drug‐facilitated crimes; forensic science; solubility; spiking; zolpidem

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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