10 Minutes in One Shot. That’s How Quickly You Can Screen 664 Forensics Compounds

Feb 6, 2019 | Blogs, Forensic | 0 comments

Drug testing is a moving target. As novel psychoactive substances (NPS) rapidly emerge as a new class of designer stimulants (DS), global use has reached an all-time high over the last decade. Supposedly ‘legal’ alternatives to internationally controlled drugs, these compounds are typically manufactured ‘underground’ in unregulated laboratories by teams that are a step ahead of regulators. By simply altering the concoction of chemicals, the drugs slide under permissible legal radars.

With NPS-related deaths on the rise, the time it takes to detect these metabolites in forensic samples is critical. Clearly, there is a greater need for new technologies and methodologies to detect new substances and take an appropriate course of action to save lives. 

I Don’t Know What I’m Looking for (But I’ll Know When I Have Found It)
Trying to look for that “unknown” in a complex biological sample can be harder than finding a disguised fugitive in Grand Central Station at rush hour! It seems like an impossible task. The fast-paced nature of the market combined with widespread availability of an increasing number of substances is frightening. In fact, at the dawn of the millennium, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) listed only a handful of NPS. By 2008 the number was up to 26. Now more than 560 NPS are currently being monitored by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, with 100 new agents identified in 2015 alone.

Traditional drug screening tends to take a two-prong approach:

  • Screening: Using methods like Immunoassay or ELISA, toxicologists would screen for classes of abused or prescribed drugs. The pitfall― NPS assays are not always readily available for all drugs of interest; which leads to a greater chance of false positive results.
  • Confirm: A targeted confirmation testing approach using either GC/MS or LC-MS/MS. These methods are usually targeted in nature; limiting the detection of all ‘new’ emerging compounds. In addition, both methods are time-consuming.

Where Unknown Compounds Can Hide, We Can Find
It seems that identifying the unknown in the evolving designer drug market, knowns are not that simple. Fret not! High-Resolution Accurate Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) innovation such as the SCIEX X500R QTOF system coupled with a detailed toxicology screening method for 664 forensic compounds can do the job.

The good news? There’s a concise and comprehensive way to screen for unknown substances in your forensic evidence. This technote shows how our HRMS system powered by SCIEX OS Software work together. Discover a single-injection method for screening 664 most up-to-date forensic compounds, with library searching to automate and confidently establish the identification of unknowns in an efficient, all-in-one workflow.

Read the tech note today by filling out the form on your right and downloading our Forensics Compendium.

What are the differences between EPA methods 533 and 537.1?

With the risk of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and accumulation in humans and wildlife on the rise, it is important to continuously improve and demonstrate capabilities for accurate and precise low-level quantification in research and...

Rescheduling a Schedule I substance, and the Delta-8 controversy

Did you know that in the US, drugs and other chemicals are classified into 5 distinct categories depending on the drug’s acceptable medical use and its potential for abuse or dependency?  Drugs federally classified as Schedule I substances by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are considered to have the highest potential for abuse and for creating severe psychological and/or physical dependence. In addition to heroin, LSD and MDMA (ecstasy), cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance in the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which means it has no approved medical usage.

The pros and cons of using solid phase extraction and direct injection methods for PFAS testing

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Defense (DoD) methods for testing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water require using solid phase extraction (SPE). SPE has been used extensively in environmental contaminant analysis both for concentrating large sample volumes (improving method sensitivity) and removing matrix interferences (sample cleanup).

Posted by


Submit a Comment