Comparison of Four Ecstasy Screening Assays

Natalie T. Lu, National Institute of Justice
Henry H. Brownstein, National Institute of Justice
Christine R. Crossland, National Institute of Justice
Diana Noone, National Institute of Justice

The need for analytical screening tests that are more reliable and valid when testing for ecstasy (MDMA) is becoming important due to increased use. The most common procedure to detect MDMA is to quantify its concentration using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GCMS). However, due to its high costs and long running time, the use of this methodology is limited. On the other hand, screening procedures based on immunoassays provide a number of advantages, including low cost, easy of use, and minimal testing time. This presentation will compare four commercially available screening assays specifically designed to test for MDMA assessing the specificity and sensitivity against MDMA in urine samples. Approximately 1,000 urine specimens collected from six Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) sites were screened by all four MDMA screening assays. Positive specimens were confirmed by GCMS. Blank urine samples spiked with known amounts of amphetamine (AM), methylamphetamine (MA), methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), methylenedioxymnethylamphetamine (MDMA), methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA) and methylenedioxyphenyl-N-methyl-2-butanamine (MBDB) were also included. Results were analyzed to determine the specificity and sensitivity of the MDMA screening assays.

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Updated 05/20/2006