Application Notes

Application Notes

AppNote 199: Automated Hydrolysis, Extraction and Determination of Opioids in Urine using a Novel Robotic Autosampler and LC-MS/MS Platform


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 defined 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.


Sample Preparation, LC-MS/MS, High Throughput Lab Automation, DPX, Opioids, Urine