UCT is well-recognized for its flagship solid phase extraction (SPE) sorbent Clean Screen® DAU. This acclaimed sorbent is employed by many forensic toxicology laboratories for the extraction of drugs and metabolites from biological matrices, including the increasingly encountered novel psychoactive substances (NPS). In a new paper authored by C.Mitchell-Mata in Journal of Analytical Toxicology (doi: 10.1093/jat/bkx048), CSDAU206 was used to extract 3- and 4-methoxyphencyclidine (3-MeO-PCP, 4-MeO-PCP) in forensic cases. 3-MeO-PCP, 4-MeO-PCP are structural analogs of phencyclidine (PCP), and were among the first legal PCP alternatives to show up on the NPS market in Europe in the 2000’s.  With the structural similarities to PCP and ketamine, they are likely contributing to demonstrated dissociative anesthetic effects in subjects. Limited information exists in the literature about toxic and lethal concentrations of these drugs in biological samples.

In the above noted study, the first two death cases in Washington State in which 3-MeO-PCP was identified are presented. Following an alkaline drug screen, samples were then extracted for confirmatory purposes by Clean Screen® DAU. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) results revealed a peak with a retention time similar to PCP and base peak of m/z 230. 3-and 4-MeO-PCP were confirmed by comparison with certified reference materials where the isomers were able to be distinguished based on retention times and mass spectra. The validated quantitative GC–MS method produced a dynamic range of 10–1,000ng/mL and a limit of detection of 1ng/mL. Postmortem (peripheral/central) blood samples were analyzed according to the validated method with 0.63 and 3.2 µg/mL of 3-MeO-PCP identified respectively. Methamphetamine (0.11µg/mL) was additionally detected in the blood of one of the decedents; while the second decedent was additionally positive for ethanol (0.047g/dL), bupropion (1.8µg/mL), delorazepam, paroxetine and mitragynine. The results presented in this study show the efficiency and power of the Clean Screen® DAU SPE to extract NPS compounds from very complex matrices such as postmortem blood. For more information regarding Clean Screen® sorbents, methods and applications please visit https://sampleprep.unitedchem.com/products/spe/clinical-forensic/clean-screen-dau.