Advertisement

Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 8, pp 2035–2042 | Cite as

Determination of cathinones and other stimulant, psychedelic, and dissociative designer drugs in real hair samples

  • Alberto SalomoneEmail author
  • Giulia Gazzilli
  • Daniele Di Corcia
  • Enrico Gerace
  • Marco Vincenti
Research Paper

Abstract

The detection of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in hair proved to provide insight into their current diffusion among the population and the social characteristics of these synthetic drugs’ users. Therefore, a UHPLC–MS/MS method was developed in order to determine 31 stimulant and psychedelic substituted phenethylamines, and dissociative drugs in hair samples. The method proved to be simple, fast, specific, and sensitive. The absence of matrix interferents, together with excellent repeatability of both retention times and relative abundances of diagnostic transitions, allowed the correct identification of all analytes tested. The method showed optimal linearity in the interval 10–1000 pg/mg, with correlation coefficient values varying between 0.9981 and 0.9997. Quantitation limits ranged from 1.8 pg/mg for 4-methoxyphencyclidine (4-MeO-PCP) up to 35 pg/mg for 6-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran (6-APB). The method was applied to (i) 23 real samples taken from proven MDMA and ketamine abusers and (ii) 54 real hair samples which had been previously tested negative during regular drug screening in driver’s license recovery. Six samples tested positive for at least one target analyte. Methoxetamine (MXE) was found in three cases (range of concentration 7.7–27 pg/mg); mephedrone (4-MMC) was found in two cases (50–59 pg/mg) while one sample tested positive for methylone at 28 pg/mg. Other positive findings included 4-methylethcathinone (4-MEC), alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP), 4-fluoroamphetamine (4-FA), 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), and diphenidine. The present study confirms the increasing diffusion of new designer drugs with enhanced stimulant activity among the target population of poly-abuse consumers.

Keywords

Cathinones NPS Mephedrone Hair Methoxetamine 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

All patients provided written informed consent before donating the sample.

Conflict of interest

We wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no significant financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.

Supplementary material

216_2015_9247_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (20 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 20 kb)

References

  1. 1.
    Davidson C. New psychoactive substances. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2012;39:219–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    King L, Kicman T. A brief history of “new psychoactive substances”. Drug Test Anal. 2011;3:401–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Favretto D, Pascali JP, Tagliaro F. New challenges and innovation in forensic toxicology: focus on the “new psychoactive substances”. J Chromatogr A. 2013;1287:84–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kintz P, Salomone A, Vincenti M. Hair analysis in clinical and forensic toxicology. USA: Academic; 2015.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Vardakou I, Pistos C, Spiliopoulou C. Spice drugs as a new trend: mode of action, identification and legislation. Toxicol Lett. 2010;197:157–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Salomone A, Luciano C, Di Corcia D, Gerace E, Vincenti M. Hair analysis as a tool to evaluate the prevalence of synthetic cannabinoids in different populations of drug consumers. Drug Test Anal. 2014;6:126–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kerwin J. Doors of deception: the diaspora of designer drugs. Drug Test Anal. 2011;3:527–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Papanti D, Schifano F, Botteon G, Bertossi F, Mannix J, Vidoni D, et al. “Spiceophrenia”: a systematic overview of “spice”-related psychopathological issues and a case report. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2013;28:379–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Crews B. Synthetic cannabinoids. The challenges of testing for designer drugs. http://www.aacc.org/publications/cln/2013/february/Pages/Cannabinoids.aspx# (2013).
  10. 10.
    Hutter M, Kneisel S, Auwärter V, Neukamm M. Determination of 22 synthetic cannabinoids in human hair by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B Anal Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2012;903:95–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Salomone A, Gerace E, D’Urso F, Di Corcia D, Vincenti M. Simultaneous analysis of several synthetic cannabinoids, THC, CBD and CBN, in hair by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Method validation and application to real samples. J Mass Spectrom. 2012;47:604–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Strano-Rossi S, Odoardi S, Fisichella M, Anzillotti L, Gottardo R, Tagliaro F. Screening for new psychoactive substances in hair by ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A. 2014;1372C:145–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gottardo R, Sorio D, Musile G, Trapani E, Seri C, Serpelloni G, et al. Screening for synthetic cannabinoids in hair by using LC-QTOF MS: a new and powerful approach to study the penetration of these new psychoactive substances in the population. Med Sci Law. 2014;54:22–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Torrance H, Cooper G. The detection of mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) in 4 fatalities in Scotland. Forensic Sci Int. 2010;202:e62–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Barroso M, Costa S, Dias M, Vieira DN, Queiroz J, López-Rivadulla M. Analysis of phenylpiperazine-like stimulants in human hair as trimethylsilyl derivatives by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A. 2010;1217:6274–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kikura-Hanajiri R, Kawamura M, Saisho K, Kodama Y, Goda Y. The disposition into hair of new designer drugs; methylone, MBDB and methcathinone. J Chromatogr B Anal Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2007;855:121–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Martin M, Muller JF, Turner K, Duez M, Cirimele V. Evidence of mephedrone chronic abuse through hair analysis using GC/MS. Forensic Sci Int. 2012;218:44–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gerace E, Petrarulo M, Bison F, Salomone A, Vincenti M. Toxicological findings in a fatal multidrug intoxication involving mephedrone. Forensic Sci Int. 2014;243C:68–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kim JY, Jung KS, Kim MK, Lee JI, In MK. Simultaneous determination of psychotropic phenylalkylamine derivatives in human hair by gas chromatography / mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2007:1705–20Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Namera A, Konuma K, Saito T, Ota S, Oikawa H, Miyazaki S, et al. Simple segmental hair analysis for α-pyrrolidinophenone-type designer drugs by MonoSpin extraction for evaluation of abuse history. J Chromatogr B Anal Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2013;942–943:15–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Namera A, Urabe S, Saito T, Torikoshi-Hatano A, Shiraishi H, Arima Y, et al. A fatal case of 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone poisoning: coexistence of α-pyrrolidinobutiophenone and α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone in blood and/or hair. Forensic Toxicol. 2013;31:338–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shah SB, Deshmukh NIK, Barker J, Petróczi A, Cross P, Archer R, et al. Quantitative analysis of mephedrone using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy: application to human hair. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2012;61:64–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Rust KY, Baumgartner MR, Dally AM, Kraemer T. Prevalence of new psychoactive substances: a retrospective study in hair. Drug Test Anal. 2012;4:402–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wikström M, Thelander G, Nyström I, Kronstrand R. Two fatal intoxications with the new designer drug methedrone (4-methoxymethcathinone) autopsy cases. J Anal Toxicol. 2010;34:594–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lendoiro E, Jiménez-Morigosa C, Cruz A, López-Rivadulla M, de Castro A. O20: Hair analysis of amphetamine-type stimulant drugs (ATS), including synthetic cathinones and piperazines, by LC-MSMS. Toxicol Anal Clin. 2014;26:S13.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Di Corcia D, D’Urso F, Gerace E, Salomone A, Vincenti M. Simultaneous determination in hair of multiclass drugs of abuse (including THC) by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B. 2012;899:154–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hubaux A, Vos G. Decision and detection limits for calibration curves. Anal Chem. 1970;42:849–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stanczuk A, Morris N, Gardner E, Kavanagh P. Identification of (2-aminopropyl)benzofuran (APB) phenyl ring positional isomers in Internet purchased products. Drug Test Anal. 2013;5:270–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Brandt SD, Daley PF, Cozzi NV. Analytical characterization of three trifluoromethyl-substituted methcathinone isomers. Drug Test Anal. 2012;4:525–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Power JD, McGlynn P, Clarke K, McDermott SD, Kavanagh P, O’Brien J. The analysis of substituted cathinones. Part 1: Chemical analysis of 2-, 3- and 4-methylmethcathinone. Forensic Sci Int. 2011;212:6–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Marinetti LJ, Antonides HM. Analysis of synthetic cathinones commonly found in bath salts in human performance and postmortem toxicology: method development, drug distribution and interpretation of results. J Anal Toxicol. 2013;37:135–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Hondebrink L, Nugteren-van Lonkhuyzen JJ, Van Der Gouwe D, Brunt TM. Monitoring new psychoactive substances (NPS) in The Netherlands: data from the drug market and the Poisons Information Centre. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;147:109–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Adamowicz P, Tokarczyk B, Stanaszek R, Slopianka M. Fatal mephedrone intoxication—a case report. J Anal Toxicol. 2013;37:37–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hasegawa K, Wurita A, Minakata K, Gonmori K, Nozawa H, Yamagishi I, et al. Postmortem distribution of AB-CHMINACA, 5-fluoro-AMB, and diphenidine in body fluids and solid tissues in a fatal poisoning case: usefulness of adipose tissue for detection of the drugs in unchanged forms. Forensic Toxicol. 2015;33:45–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Salomone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giulia Gazzilli
    • 2
  • Daniele Di Corcia
    • 1
  • Enrico Gerace
    • 1
  • Marco Vincenti
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro Regionale Antidoping e di Tossicologia “A. Bertinaria”OrbassanoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di ChimicaUniversità degli Studi di TorinoTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations