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Lab-on-a-Chip approaches for the detection of controlled drugs, including new psychoactive substances: A systematic review

McNeill, Lauren and Megson, David and Linton, Patricia E and Norrey, John and Bradley, Lee and Sutcliffe, Oliver B and Shaw, Kirsty J (2021) Lab-on-a-Chip approaches for the detection of controlled drugs, including new psychoactive substances: A systematic review. Forensic Chemistry, 26. p. 100370. ISSN 2468-1709

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Abstract

According to the World Drugs Report (2019) from the United Nations on Drugs and Crime there were over half a million drug related deaths, 35 million people were treated for drug use disorders across the globe, and it is estimated that more than 270 million people used drugs during 2017. Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) technology is an increasingly popular choice of detection method for drugs of abuse. We systematically reviewed the published literature available on LOC methods for the detection of drugs of abuse including New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) from January 1999 to March 2021 and identified 45 publications. A total of 28 different drugs of abuse were investigated, with cocaine the most widely studied (58%). The LOC devices were capable of accepting a wide range of biological and non-biological samples. A total of 18 countries have been involved in LOC research into detection of drugs of abuse, with locations generally following local trends in drug use. LOC devices employed a range of detection methods with immunoassays most commonly incorporated (34%). Recommendations are made for expanding the use of real-world samples, improved validation and further analysis of practicality (in terms of providing information on cost, speed of analysis and ease of use). More than a third of all the publications included in this review were published since 2019, representing a recent increase in research using LOC devices for the detection of drugs of abuse. There is currently an extensive range of LOC approaches available offering potential for these devices as cost-effective, rapid and portable detection systems.

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