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Analytical Strategies to Disclose Repeated Consumption of New Psychoactive Substances by Hair Analysis

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Background: New psychoactive substances (NPS) are a heterogenic group of substances with different chemical structures and psychotropic effects.

Method: Many pharmacotoxicological laboratories performing drug testing in conventional and nonconventional biological matrices for clinical and forensic purposes do not include screening procedures for NPS in their routine protocols. This is mainly due to the continued entry in the market of newly synthesized products, the low availability of reference standards, in particular of their metabolites, the low availability of immunochemical kits, etc. Moreover, many of the new compounds are very potent, and low doses ingested will lead to low concentrations in biological matrices, especially in hair.

Results: Hair analysis has become a powerful tool for detecting chronic drug use and has become a routine technique in forensic toxicology laboratories.

Conclusion: The aim of this study was to set up analytical strategies to identify repeated consumption of NPS by hair analysis. Although UHPLC-MS/MS may represent the elective technique in studying NPS, a combination of both GC-MS and UHPLC-MS/MS techniques is useful in creating a complete toxicological image.
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Keywords: Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS); Hair analysis; New psychoactive substances; Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2017

This article was made available online on December 8, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Analytical Strategies to Disclose Repeated Consumption of New Psychoactive Substances by Hair Analysis".

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in both pre-clinical and clinical areas of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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