Determination of different recreational drugs in sweat by headspace solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (HS-SPME GC/MS): Application to drugged drivers

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A procedure based on headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) has been developed for the determination of most commonly used drugs of abuse in sweat of drivers stopped during roadside controls.

DrugWipe 5A sweat screening device was used to collect sweat by a specific pad rubbed gently over forehead skin surface.

The procedure involved an acid hydrolysis, a HS-SPME extraction for drugs of abuse but Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which was directly extracted in alkaline medium HS-SPME conditions, a GC separation of analytes by a capillary column and MS detection by electron impact ionisation. The method was linear from the limit of quantification (LOQ) to 50 ng drug per pad (r2 ≥ 0.99), with an intra- and inter-assay precision and accuracy always less than 15% and an analytical recovery between 95.1% and 102.8%, depending on the considered analyte.

Using the validated method, sweat from 60 apparently intoxicated drivers were found positive to one or more drugs of abuse, showing sweat patches testing as a viable economic and simple alternative to conventional (blood and/or urine) and non conventional (oral fluid) testing of drugs of abuse in drugged drivers.

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