Activity-based screening of opioids in biological matrices as a new concept in forensic toxicology. (01P02618)
Over 600 new psychoactive substances (NPS) have appeared on the worldwide drug market during the last decade as reported by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Their consumption poses a serious problem for public order and public health. The number of NPS, their chemical diversity, the rate at which they emerge and the lack of commercial availability of reference standards, makes it particularly challenging for the toxicologist to keep up with the detection and monitoring of this group of compounds. Moreover, the high potency of many NPS, primarily of the synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic opioids adds further to the challenge, as these compounds are typically only present at very low concentrations in biological matrices. The continuously changing chemical structure of NPS makes it difficult to obtain objective information on their traffic, use and effects. Current approaches to detect NPS in biological matrices are often structure-based and encompass immunoassays, as well as targeted and untargeted (high resolution) mass spectrometry-based methods.
This project wishes to develop innovative screening techniques focusing on the activity of NPS, rather than on their chemical structure, thereby circumventing the need to know the structure of the NPS. The developed bioassays will be used as a tool to serve two purposes:
- New concept for drug screening of biological matrices
- Gain fundamental insight into the molecular mechanism of action of NPS