Automated Hydrolysis, Extraction and Determination of Opioids in Urine using a Novel Robotic Autosampler and LC-MS/MS Platform

Sample Preparation, LC-MS/MS, High Throughput
Lab Automation, DPX, Opioids, Urine
The Opioid Epidemic continues to increase throughout
the United States. According to the CDC, 66 % of all
drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved an opioid [1].
This calculates to roughly 116 deaths every day from
opioid related overdoses. After becoming addicted to
prescription opioids, users may unfortunately turn to
illicit alternatives such as heroin. To compound the
issue, heroin has increasingly been found to be mixed
with other synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which
is 100 times more potent than morphine. In order to
respond effectively to this epidemic, forensic, health
care, and law enforcement scientists need access to fast
methods for assessing and monitoring which opioids
are involved.
Automating the entire hydrolysis, extraction, and
subsequent analysis by LC-MS/MS provides the
critically needed high throughput analysis for opioids
in urine. Using the novel GERSTEL MPS robotic
autosampler, syringe transfer of all liquids involved
in the enzymatic hydrolysis procedure, controlled
incubation of the samples for a defi ned period of time,
as well as extraction of the subsequent hydrolyzed urine
samples using dispersive solid phase extraction were
performed. The resulting eluents from the automated
extractions were then introduced into the new Agilent
Ultivo LC-MS/MS instrument.

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