Klingberg, J, Cawley, A, Shimmon, R & Fu, S 2019, 'Collision-Induced Dissociation Studies of Synthetic Opioids for Non-targeted Analysis.', Frontiers in chemistry, vol. 7.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The continual introduction of a large number of new psychoactive substances, along with the large turnover of these substances, necessitates the development of non-targeted detection strategies to keep pace with the ever-changing drug market. The production of certified reference materials often lags behind the introduction of new substances to the market, therefore these detection strategies need to be able to function without relying on reference materials or library spectra. Synthetic opioids have recently emerged as a drug class of particular concern due to the health issues caused by their incredibly high potency. A common method which has been used for non-targeted analysis in the past involves the identification of common product ions formed as a result of the fragmentation of the parent molecule. These common fragments can then potentially be used as markers to indicate the presence of a particular class of compounds within a sample. In this study, standards of a number of different synthetic opioids, including 14 fentanyl derivatives, 7 AH series opioids, 4 U series opioids, 4 W series opioids and MT-45, were subjected to collision-induced dissociation studies to determine how the compounds fragment. The spectra obtained from these studies included a number of diagnostic fragments common to the different opioid classes that, when used in combination, show potential for use as class predictors. By using simple data processing techniques, such as extracted ion chromatograms, these diagnostic product ions identified can be applied to a non-targeted screening workflow.