UHPLC-ESI-MS/MS method for direct analysis of drugs of abuse in oral fluid for DUID assessment

Sabina Strano-Rossi*, Luca Anzillotti, Erika Castrignanò, Marialinda Felli, Giovanni Serpelloni, Roberto Mollica, Marcello Chiarotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


An ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry method for the direct analysis in oral fluid (OF) of several abused drugs and metabolites in a single chromatographic run was set up and validated. Amphetamine, methamphetamine, morphine, O-6-monoacetylmorphine, cocaine, codeine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methylenedioxyethylamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine, methadone, benzoylecgonine (BEG), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), ketamine, and cocaethylene were determined in a single chromatographic run with no sample pretreatment, after addition of the respective deuterated internal standards. The method was designed to perform a confirmation analysis on the residual OF samples after the preliminary on-site screening test, and it was applied on preservative buffers from different devices (Mavand Rapidstat, Concateno DDS, and Greiner Bio-One) or on neat OF samples. The method was suitable to be applied to the small amounts of sample available for the confirmatory analysis after the preliminary on-site screening or on undiluted OF samples. Limits of detection varied from 5 (morphine) to 0.2 ng/mL (methamphetamine, MDMA, BEG, and cocaethylene). The method was linear for all the substances involved, giving quadratic correlation coefficients of >0.99 in all the different preservative buffers checked. In addition, repeatability and accuracy were satisfactory for the majority of the substances, except for a few cases. The developed method was subsequently applied to 466 residual samples from on-site screening performed by police officers. Of these samples, 74 showed the presence of cocaine and metabolites; THC was detected in 49 samples. Two samples showed codeine and morphine while MDMA was detected in 11 samples and ketamine in four samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-624
Number of pages16
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • DUID
  • Forensic toxicology
  • Oral fluid


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