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Development and Validation of Two Innovative Quantitative Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry Methods for Forensic Toxicology Laboratories

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
12 pages

This is the Final Summary Overview of the findings and methodology of a research project with the goal of developing and validating two liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods for the analysis of whole blood and additional biological matrices in accordance with the guidelines of the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Toxicology (SWGTOX) Standard Practices for Method Validation in Forensic Toxicology.


Specifically, these objectives focused on the recent proliferation of designer drugs (novel psychoactive substances); the development and validation of a combined method for opioids, cocaine, and its metabolite; and the dissemination of developed methods to the toxicology community. These targeted drugs pose legal concerns due to their high potential for abuse and their ability to avoid provisions of drug law, which impacts toxicological analyses. Project design, methods, and data analysis are described. This report indicates that the methods developed and validated in this project have implications for criminal justice practices in the United States. The method for identifying designer drugs was effective in identifying just over 45 compounds that are not usually subjected to identification in forensic laboratories. The broad sample-preparation procedure and the instrumentation used have the potential to identify additional compounds added to the ever-changing market of novel psychoactive substances. The opioid, cocaine, and cocaine metabolite method developed can streamline analyses within a forensic laboratory. The various ways in which the research results are being disseminated are described. 2 tables

Date Published: December 1, 2018