Paper Authors and Title

Sarah Rowlands (Atlantic Technological University), Philip White, “Drugs of Abuse in Galway Nightlife”


Ireland’s rural and urban environments have been reported to be rife with illegal drug use, particularly the cities. The aim of this project was to assess how prolific illegal drugs of abuse are within Galway city nightlife venues and what types of narcotics are present. Trace evidence was collected from both male and female bathrooms at six different venues within Galway city at night over three separate weeks using sterile swabs. The Swabs were collected using standard forensic trace evidence collection techniques and transferred to the laboratory at ATU Dublin road before being extracted using solvents and subsequently analysed using a Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) instrument. The GCMS instrument was run on both a board range scan mode searching for any molecules that may be of interest and a more refined sensitive Single Ion Monitoring (SIM) mode which honed in on specific ions that are characteristic of the substances in question. GCMS in scan mode can be used in conjunction with specific software to identify a compound based on its characteristic fingerprint breakdown in the instrument and the use of a highly refined database offering excellent reliability in compound identification. Overall cocaine was found to be the most common illegal narcotic found and identified within the samples analysed and it was found within every single male bathroom tested. MDMA or ecstasy was the second most common molecule and was more common within the female bathrooms.

This study indicates that illegal drugs of abuse are indeed common within the nightlife of Galway city and this trend fits well within a broader narrative as to the prevalence of these drugs nationwide.


Download and view Sarah Rowlands’ poster.