NIST reference materials to support accuracy in drug testing
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Substance abuse is a major problem worldwide. There is considerable emphasis placed upon testing individuals for evidence of use of controlled substances. Because the consequences of a positive test can be quite severe, laboratories conducting such tests must rigorously follow a carefully designed quality assurance program. Such a QA program should include use of reference materials to assure that the methods used to detect and quantify drugs are providing accurate results. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) supports accuracy in drugs of abuse testing by providing Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) with certified concentrations of drugs of abuse in urine- and hair-based reference materials. NIST, working in collaboration with the College of American Pathologists (CAP), has developed urine-based SRMs for marijuana metabolite, cocaine metabolite, morphine and codeine, and morphine glucuronide and CAP Reference Materials for amphetamines and phencyclidine. Certification measurements performed at NIST involve two independent methods for each analyte, one of which always uses GC/MS with the other usually being an LC method with either MS or UV detection. Work has recently been completed on a seven component drug in urine SRM. In addition NIST conducts research in the analysis of hair for drugs of abuse. To assist laboratories testing hair for that purpose, NIST has developed two drugs in hair reference materials.
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