"A Seedier Side of Mass Spectrometry: Detecting Designer Drugs & Deceptions"
Gregory Janis, Scientific Director at MedTox Laboratories
While procedures for drug testing have evolved since their inception in the 1980s, the basic paradigm of drug testing has remained conceptually unchanged for 20 years; antibody screening followed by GC-MS confirmation. However, the 21st century has seen dramatic changes in the landscape of drugs of abuse. In response, laboratories have been forced to abandon historical testing strategies to focus on nimbler procedures. Testing is further complicated by a near complete lack of scientific knowledge of new drug entities. Thus, testing laboratories are forced into the role of mining for toxicological data within samples from drug exposed individuals. Today drug testing laboratories are attempting to keep pace with the evolution of the opiate crisis, shifting from prescription opiates to clandestinely produced designer opioids. At the same time we are challenged with an increased level of sophistication attempted by users to deceive testing. This presentation will discuss a few of the strategies employed at our laboratory to overcome the multitude of analytical challenges presented by modern drugs of abuse testing.