P. de Voogt
A.L.N. van Nuijs
- Qualitative screening of new psychoactive substances in pooled urine samples from Belgium and United Kingdom
- Science of the Total Environment
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Concerns about new psychoactive substances (NPS) are increasing due to the rising frequency of serious intoxications. Analysis of biological fluids (urine) is necessary to get reliable information about the use of these substances. However, it is a challenging task due to the lack of analytical standards and the dynamic character of the NPS market. In the present work, a qualitative screening of NPS was carried out in 23 pooled urine samples collected from a city center in the UK and festivals in the UK and Belgium. The analytical method was based on data-independent acquisition mode using liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. An in-house library was used with > 1500 entries corresponding to NPS, classical drugs and metabolites. All samples contained 53 and 28 compounds of interest from the UK and Belgium respectively. Of the different compounds detected, about 70% were confirmed using retention time and product ions while the remaining compounds were identified using elucidated fragmentation pathways. The highest numbers of NPS identified in both countries were from the cathinone and phenylethylamine families, with a higher number being detected in samples from the festival in the UK. Moreover, several cathinone metabolites in human urine were detected and identified. The screening method proved useful to detect a large number of compounds and determine the use of NPS.
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