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Accurate detection of drugs of abuse in urine and oral fluid using advanced mass spectrometry technology


Novel Technology of Rapid Detection of Drugs of Abuse

Conventional analytical methods for drug analysis are time-consuming, requiring tedious sample preparations. Rapid screening devices are currently available, but they may produce inaccurate results. Therefore, we have developed 3 advanced mass spectrometry technologies for rapid detection and quantitation of 6 common drugs of abuse, i.e. ketamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), cannabis (THC) and heroin, and their metabolites in urine and oral fluids. It is achieved by applying a high voltage directly to sample loaded with organic solvent, inducing electrospray ionization and generating mass spectra.

The technologies developed by PolyU include: 1) Wooden-tip Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (WT-ESI-MS), which is a simple and economical method with the use of a wooden toothpick; 2) Solid Phase Microextraction Coupled to Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (SPME-ESI-MS), which is an extraction and enrichment technique for enhancing the sensitivity of chemical analysis, and 3) SPME coupled with commercially available portable gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC-MS) for on-site analysis of drugs-of-abuse.

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