Keeping pace with NPS releases: fast GC-MS screening of legal high products

Elie, Mathieu P., Elie, Leonie E. and Baron, Mark G. (2013) Keeping pace with NPS releases: fast GC-MS screening of legal high products. Drug Testing and Analysis, 5 (5). pp. 281-290. ISSN 1942-7603

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The continuous appearance of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) in legal high products presents a challenge for the routine analytical laboratory. A rapid screening method for NPS analysis using fast gas chromatography mass spectrometry (fast GC-MS) is presented. Twenty-three analytes, including 5-iodo-2-aminoindane (5-IAI), 1-(thiophen-2-yl)-2-methylaminopropane (MPA), 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP), 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone), 5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane (MDAI) and methoxetamine (MXE) were separated within 4min. The method was used to analyze 35 Internet and head shop purchased 'legal high' products with the successful identification of their active ingredients. As previously observed, legal high products do not always contain their stated ingredients. Of the group of products purchased as 5-IAI not one contained 5-IAI with several containing mixtures of substances either already controlled in the UK or under consideration by the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The low bleed and high inertness of the chromatography column used ensured clean high quality mass spectrometry data which when combined with the short run time resulted in an efficient tool for NPS screening, even when standards were unavailable. Electron impact and chemical ionization mass spectra used in combination for the identification of unknown NPS are presented. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Additional Information:First published online 7 Jan 2013
Keywords:fast GC-MS screening, novel psychoactive substances, 5-IAI, legal highs, forensic drug analysis
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B200 Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy
F Physical Sciences > F410 Forensic Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:10558
Deposited On:10 Jul 2013 12:57

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