The consumption of illicit drugs of abuse is a relevant public health problem, especially regarding to its use during gestation. Adverse outcomes such as low birth weight, intra-uterine growth restriction, preterm birth, neonatal abstinence, neurobehavioral and developmental effects are associated with alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use during pregnancy. It would be of great importance to obtain data concerning drug misuse during pregnancy to proper medical and psychological interventions. Self-report drug use by pregnant women is very significant; however the data are often underestimated due to fear of punitive actions. Therefore, confirmation by toxicological analysis of biological matrices must be accomplished. Meconium, the first stool of the newborn, has been proposed as a suitable matrix to evaluate fetal exposure to drugs of abuse. Although, meconium is a complex matrix, which requires extensive sample cleaning previously to the analyses identification. In this context, the aim of the present research is to develop an analytical method for the identification of tetrahydrocannabinol biomarkers using accelerated solvent extraction. This technique allows minor sample handling, has greater efficiency when compared with conventional techniques, beyond the smaller demand of solvents and more practical application. The identification and quantification of the analyses will be performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The developed method will be applied in meconium samples from newborns with suspicion of fetal cannabinoid exposure, obtained from the University Hospital of São Paulo-USP, Brazil.
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