May 2020 Virtual Meeting

Speaker: Ira Lurie, George Washington University

Topic: Is GC-MS still the gold standard for the analysis of seized drugs?

Date: Thursday, May 21st, 2020

NEW TIME: 1:00 pm Presentation

Location: Webinar – see emails on May 12 and 19 for invite link. Join the mailing list

Abstract: Gas chromatography electron impact mass spectrometry (GC-EI MS) has been considered the gold standard for the analysis of seized drugs. This technique which combines a high resolution separation step with a highly selective detection technique is well established for commonly encountered illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Most recently there has been an up surge of the so called designer drugs, structural or functional analogs of controlled substances that have been synthesized to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug, therefore avoiding classification as illegal and/or detection in standard drug tests. The analysis of these emerging drugs is complicated using GC-EI MS by the high number of analogues present in a given class, for which there exists structurally very similar compounds, such as positional isomers and stereoisomers. Problems encountered during analysis include co-elution, poor chromatographic performance, lack of molecular or diagnostic ions, indistinguishable mass spectra, and solute thermal instability. In this seminar alternative liquid phase techniques will be presented including ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) with time of flight (TOF) MS detection, high performance supercritical fluid chromatography (UHPSFC) with MS and UV detection, and multi-dimensional UHPLC with UV and MS detection. In regard to gas phase analysis, the use of cold EI-MS and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) detection will be explored including the use of a tandem GC-VUV-MS instrument. Emerging drug classes investigated include synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, fentanyl analogues and phenethylamine analogues.