Rapid analysis of fentanyls and other novel psychoactive substances in substance use disorder patient urine using paper spray mass spectrometry
Rationale Drug overdose deaths due to fentanyls and other novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are on the rise. The higher potencies of fentanyl analogs compared with morphine require new technologies to identify and quantitate NPS. Methods Paper spray tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) and high‐resolution mass spectrometry were used to identify and measure fentanyl analogs as well as common drugs of abuse in urine samples from substance use disorder clinics. Ten‐microliter urine samples were deposited directly on paper spray cartridges previously loaded with internal standards, dried, and analyzed with no other sample treatment. Quantitative results were obtained using MS/MS. Individual drugs were identified using high‐resolution accurate mass spectrometry, and confirmed by data‐dependent MS/MS. Results Calibration curves in urine were linear over a range of 0.5–50 ng/mL with R 2 of 0.99 or better for eight representative fentanyl analogs. Cartridges preloaded with internal standards demonstrated satisfactory quantitative results compared with LC/MS. Direct identification and confirmation of fentanyl analogs and other common drugs of abuse in urine using high‐resolution accurate mass and MS/MS fragmentation were demonstrated at low picogram levels. Conclusions Paper spray mass spectrometry can reliably identify and quantitate fentanyl analogs and other drugs of abuse in urine. Using paper spray cartridges as collection devices reduces exposure and transportation risks associated with biological fluids. Cartridges preloaded with labeled internal standards can be effective for targeted screening of fentanyl analogs and other drugs of abuse.
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