The increasing number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) present in the illicit market render their identification in biological fluids/tissues of great concern for clinical and forensic toxicology. Analytical methods able to detect the huge number of substances that can be used are sought, considering also that many NPS are not detected by the standard immunoassays generally used for routine drug screening. The aim of this work was to develop a method for the screening of different classes of NPS (a total of 78 analytes including cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids, phenethylamines, piperazines, ketamine and analogues, benzofurans, tryptamines) from blood samples. The simultaneous extraction of analytes was performed by Dispersive Liquid/Liquid Microextraction DLLME, a very rapid, cheap and efficient extraction technique that employs microliters amounts of organic solvents. Analyses were performed by a target Ultrahigh Performance Liquid Chromatography tandem Mass Spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) method in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). The method allowed the detection of the studied analytes with limits of detection (LODs) ranging from 0.2 to 2ng/mL. The proposed DLLME method can be used as an alternative to classical liquid/liquid or solid-phase extraction techniques due to its rapidity, necessity to use only microliters amounts of organic solvents, cheapness, and to its ability to extract simultaneously a huge number of analytes also from different chemical classes. The method was then applied to 60 authentic real samples from forensic cases, demonstrating its suitability for the screening of a wide number of NPS.
- Clinical toxicology
- Forensic toxicology