Death after 25C-NBOMe and 25H-NBOMe consumption

Luca Morini, Marzia Bernini, Sara Vezzoli, Mario Restori, Matteo Moretti, Stefano Crenna, Pietro Papa, Carlo Locatelli, Antonio Marco Maria Osculati, Claudia Vignali, Angelo Groppi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A teenager male was found dead in a waterway after he was spotted jumping off into the water stream. The boy looked agitated and confused after a party with friends. At the gathering place, investigators seized packages of blotter papers. A complete autopsy and a histological evaluation of the main tissues were performed; although the death occurred by drowning, the prosecutor requested toxicological exams, in order to evaluate the potential role of drugs of abuse in the episode. Blood (both peripheral and central) and urine samples as well as seized blotter papers were collected and analyzed as follows. The blotter paper, analyzed through a GC–MS method, revealed the presence of 25-NBOMes. A liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometric (LC–MS/MS) system was used to identify and quantify 5 different 25-NBOMes (namely 25B-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, 25D-NBOMe, 25H-NBOMe, 25I-NBOMe) in blood and urine. 25E-NBOMe was used as internal standard (IS). 1 mL of urine and 1 mL of blood (both peripheral and cardiac) were diluted in 2 mL phosphate buffer at pH 6.0, containing IS and purified on a solid phase extraction (SPE) cartridge. LOD and LOQ for the five 25-NBOMes were calculated at 0.05 and 0.1 ng/mL respectively. Linearity, accuracy, precision, ion suppression, carry over and recovery were tested and all parameters fulfilled the acceptance criteria. Blood and urine provided positive results for 25C-NBOMe and 25H-NBOMe. Eventually, the seized blotter papers were analyzed by means of LC–MS/MS and the presence of the two NBOMes was confirmed: 25C-NBOMe and 25H-NBOMe were measured at the concentration of 2.80 and 0.29 ng/mL in peripheral blood, of 1.43 and 0.13 ng/mL in central blood and of 0.94 and 0.14 ng/mL in urine, respectively. THC and THCCOOH were also detected in biological fluids, at the concentration of 15.5 and 56.0 ng/mL in peripheral blood, 9.9 and 8.5 ng/mL in central blood, respectively. NBOMes can produce severe hallucination even at very low doses, and the 25C-NBOMe levels measured in the subject's blood are considered potentially toxic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e6
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • 25C-NBOMe
  • 25H-NBOMe
  • Blood
  • LC–MS/MS
  • NPS
  • Phenylethylamines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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