Testing for a Variety of Bath Salts is a Necessity for Forensic Labs

Dec 4, 2017 | Blogs, Food / Beverage, Forensic | 0 comments

Why Should Your Lab Use Mass Spec to Test for Cathinones or Bath Salts?

To date, when it comes to testing urine or oral fluids in the workplace not all psychoactive substances can be detected due to evolving substitutions. As legislation changes, so too do chemical formulations.  Therefore researchers, like the authors of the following publication, A Validated Method for the Detection of 32 Bath Salts in Oral Fluids, published by Oxford Academic, analyze compounds using the best available methods so they can cast a wider net.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic cathinones or bath salts, come from the khat plant in East Africa and Saudi Arabia. People use these drugs by accident or because they are less likely to be detected than drugs such as methamphetamine, MDMA, and cocaine. Which is why the more substances detected, the greater value your forensic lab can bring to workplace drug testing.Access the Publication >

While traditional analysis such as ELISA assays does exist to test for this widely used designer drug, there are limitations which the researchers in the tech note point out. Confirming a drug analysis, however, is critical to the integrity of your lab, and this research note offers a validated method using the SCIEX QTRAP® 6500 operated in electrospray positive mode and MultiQuant™ software. Even if you are not an expert, users can process and quantify large batches of data to get clear, reliable results in the least amount of time using the reporting tool.

Why Should Your Lab Use Mass Spec to Test for Cathinones or Bath Salts?

  • Cathinone has evolved into a diverse group of designer drugs as substitutions were made at any of the four functional group sites
  • There are no instant tests for the detection of cathinones, and very few laboratories offer testing
  • Workplace drug testing in Australia is usually limited to those drugs listed in either AS/NZS 4308:2008 or AS 4760:2006 and as such is very limited

The Take-Away
Mass Spectrometry is the solution to address NPS, from the artificial cannabinoids of the JWH family of compounds found in synthetic cannabis (K2/Spice), phenethylamines (with stimulant, entactogenic or hallucinogenic effects, such as PMMA and 2C-I), tryptamines (which have predominantly hallucinogenic effects, such as AMT and 5-MeO-DALT), piperazines (which exhibit predominantly stimulant effects, such as mCPP and BZP), or cathinones.

Telling the PFAS story with pine needles

As an ever-expanding group of chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) require novel techniques to monitor their current and historical presence in the environment. Concerns over exposure to PFAS chemicals continue to grow, with some having known toxic characteristics and the potential effects of others remaining unknown.1 In addition, while PFAS are one of the most persistent synthetic chemicals to date, most of them hardly degrade in the environment.2 So, how long do traces of PFAS last in our environment? Two tools used to help answer this question are active samplers and passive samplers.

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In this final installment of our “Back to the new basics” series, we take one more look at analytical techniques and best practices in the lab, and opportunities to improve efficiency. Here, we explore the basic principles of high-performance liquid chromatography (LC) and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS), and how these techniques can affect a lab’s efficiency and productivity.

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