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Dried Blood Spot Analysis as an Emerging Technology for Application in Forensic Toxicology

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2016
30 pages

This study assessed dried blood spot (DBS) analysis, which is well-established in newborn testing, for its application in forensic toxicology.


Specifically, the study examined whether DBS could produce results comparable to traditional drug analysis and whether, when combined with mass spectrometry (MS), it is sufficiently sensitive for quantitation of the drugs of abuse typically encountered in forensic laboratories. The study focused on the current problems encountered in DBS analysis and the feasibility of its implementation in forensic laboratories. The assessment included, but was not limited to, stability, sensitivity, sample handling, extraction, and quantitation. The study found that quantitative LC/MS/MS results with DBS are all within recommended guidelines from such entities as the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, indicating that these results are comparable to well-established extraction methods for whole blood toxicology analyses. In addition, the project contributes to important method development parameters that must be considered prior to validating and implementing DBS analysis in the laboratory. DBS requires a small amount of sample, which is useful in cases for which there is limited sample. This impacts the judicial system by allowing for toxicological analysis of samples that may otherwise go untested. Small sample size also decreases the risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens, making it safer for those involved in sample collection and analysis. 9 tables 5 figures, and a listing of presentations and planned publications on project findings

Date Published: June 1, 2016