One-step extraction and determination of 513 psychoactive substances, drugs, and their metabolites from hair by LC-MS/MS

Arch Toxicol. 2022 Nov;96(11):2927-2933. doi: 10.1007/s00204-022-03343-w. Epub 2022 Aug 25.


The emergence of new psychoactive substances on the market is a significant problem on a global scale. This type of substance in society is associated with many negative consequences, such as traffic accidents, accidents at work, rape, homicide, poisoning, or overdose deaths. The analysis of these substances in biological samples is very important for further legal action and saving lives. Therefore, laboratories face a tremendous challenge in tackling the evolving drug market. The paper describes the optimization of the analytical LC-MS/MS method to identify and determine 513 psychoactive substances in hair samples. A method of chromatographic separation was developed, and the working parameters of the mass spectrometer were selected for each analyte. The method has been validated, and the results are as follows: the limit of quantification of the developed method ranges from 0.025 to 1.25 ng/mg hair. The mean recovery of the tested analytes ranges from 80 to 120%. The achieved coefficient of variation in within-run precision ranged from 1.05 to 19.99%. The results achieved for BIAS are in the range of ± 20%.

Keywords: Drugs; Hair analysis; Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS); Metabolites; New psychoactive substances (NPS).

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Limit of Detection
  • Psychotropic Drugs*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry* / methods


  • Psychotropic Drugs