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Cobalt thiocyanate test

The cobalt thiocyanate test (or Scott test) is a proven screening test for the presence of cocaine. The cobalt thiocyanate reagent can be prepared by dissolving ten grams of cobalt (II) thiocyanate in a mixture of 490 milliliters of distilled water and 500 milliliters of glycerin.

The cobalt thiocyanate test is performed by placing approximately 2 to 4 milligrams of a target substance in a glass test tube, then 5 drops of cobalt thiocyanate reagent. After shaking, 1 or 2 drops of concentrated hydrochloric acid (other acids can be used[1]) are added, and the tube is again shaken. Ten drops of chloroform (or similar solvent) are then added, and the tube is vortexed, then allowed to settle and separate into two layers. The final color of the chloroform (organic) layer is recorded.

Addition of the cobalt thiocyanate reagent to cocaine hydrochloride results in the surface of the particles turning a bright blue (faint blue for cocaine base). The solution changes back to pink upon adding one or two drops of hydrochloric acid and mixing. Addition of 10 drops of chloroform, vortexing, and allowing the solution to settle results in a blue organic layer for both cocaine hydrochloride and cocaine base.

Diphenhydramine and lidocaine also give blue organic layers. These compounds are known false positives for cocaine.


  • Amanda J. Hanson "Specificity of the Duquenois-Levine and Cobalt Thiocyanate Tests Substituting Methylene Chloride or Butyl Chloride for Chloroform."
  1. ^ Anna L. Deakin "A Study of Acids Used for the Acidified Cobalt Thiocyanate Test for Cocaine Base."
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cobalt_thiocyanate_test". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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