Webinar Review: Synthetic Opioids: How the CDC is Expanding National Capacity to Measure Human Exposure

Our trainees review webinars in their given fields and share abstracts to help colleagues outside their discipline make an informed choice about watching them. As our program bridges diverse disciplines, these abstracts are beneficial for our own group in helping one another gain key knowledge in each other’s fields. We are happy to share these here for anyone else who may find them helpful.

Synthetic Opioids: How the CDC is Expanding National Capacity to Measure Human Exposure

Melissa Carter & Elizabeth Hamelin— Division of Laboratory Sciences Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

September 12, 2019

ACS webinars

Watch on the ACS website >>

Samuel OkyemSummary and Analysis by Samuel Okyem:

Increase prescription of opioids in the past few years led to misuse and overuse of this class of compounds. As a highly addictive substance, this class of compounds remains a major drug of abuse in the United States, killing at least 70,000 people in 2019 alone. Although several government intervention programs have been deployed to reduce opioid exposure and use, death from opioids overdose is persistent in the United States.

In this webinar, Melissa Carter and Elizabeth Hamelin from the division of laboratory sciences, centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), discuss the development of a mass spectrometry approach for the identification of 150 opioids analogs, which is intended to improve accuracy and precision in fentanyl identification for effective surveillance.

Carter introduces the webinar by unveiling the Traceable Opioid materials (TOMS) kit which includes the FAS Kits (Fentanyl analogs screening kits; contains 200 ug each of 150 fentanyl analogs) and the CRM kits (Certified opioid materials; includes 1mg each of 22 opioids standards and their isotopically labelled reference standards) developed by the CDC for fentanyl detection. These reference Kits and are available to laboratories free of charge and were used for the development of a high throughput fentanyl screening method.

First, the reference standards were used to generate a mass spectrometry library. Elizabeth Hamelin discusses that their library was constructed using chromatographic retention time, isotopic distribution, isotopic abundance, and tandems mass spectrum. These parameters allow the accurate identification of fentanyl analogs in a complex sample.

Supported liquid extraction was used to extract fentanyl analogs from biological samples (urine and plasma) prior to Liquid chromatography-Mass spectrometry analysis. Here, diluted samples are loaded onto a cartridge followed by elution, drying and reconstitution. Fentanyl extracts were analyzed using high resolution mass spectrometer coupled with liquid chromatography.

This analytical method was used for targeted and focused identification of fentanyl analogs using the CRM or FAS kits respectively. In addition, this approach can be used to identify new fentanyl analogs not included in the target.

In summary, the webinar discusses a high throughput mass spectrometry approach for the accurate detection of fentanyl analogs to supplement surveillance in clinical samples.