Rapid screening procedure based on headspace solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for the detection of many recreational drugs in hair
Gentili S, Cornetta M, Macchia T.
Clinical Biochemistry Department,
Drug Abuse Section,
Istituto Superiore di Sanita,
Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy
J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2004 Mar 5;801(2):289-96.


Tn increasing number of synthetic drugs are appearing on the illicit market and on the scene of drug use by youngsters. Official figures are underestimated. In addition, immunochemical tests are blind to many of these drugs and appropriate analytical procedures for routine clinical and epidemiological purposes are lacking. Therefore, the perceived increasing abuse of recreational drugs has not been proved yet. In a previous paper, we proposed a procedure for the preliminary screening of several recreational substances in hair and other biological matrices. Unfortunately, this procedure cannot apply to cocaine. Consequently, we performed a new headspace solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS) procedure for the simultaneous detection of cocaine, amphetamine (A), methamphetamine (MA), methylen-dioxyamphetamine (MDA), methylen-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methylen-dioxyethamphetamine (MDE), N-methyl-1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-butanamine (MBDB), ketamine, and methadone in human hair. Hair was washed with water and acetone in an ultrasonic bath. A short acid extraction with 1M hydrochloric acid was needed; the fiber was exposed to a 5min absorption at 90 degrees C and thermal desorption was performed at 250 degrees C for 3min. The procedure was simple, rapid, required small quantities of sample and no derivatization. Good linearity was obtained over the 0.1-20.0ng/mg range for the target compounds. Sensitivity was good enough: limits of detection (LOD) were 0.7ng/mg of hair for the majority of substances. The intra-day precision ranged between 7 and 20%. This paper deals with the analytical performance of this procedure and its preliminary application to hair samples obtained on a voluntary basis from 183 young people (138 males and 45 females) in the Rome area.

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