Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2016


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor/Professor

Nicholas H. Snow, Ph.D


There are numerous existing techniques for forensic toxicological testing, but each one has limitations. Although there have been significant improvements in these techniques over the past 10 years, it still remains very difficult to successfully identify a wide range of drugs from one sample using a single method [12]. This difficulty arises from the major differences in molecular structure, volatility and stability in solution between these drugs. The overall goal of this study is to develop a method using gas chromatography (GC) coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS) to separate and accurately identify 10 different drugs of abuse from a single sample. The analytes of interest in this study are characterized as central nervous stimulants (amphetamine, methamphetamine and benzoylecgonine), central nervous system depressants (secobarbital, nortriptyline, and oxazepam), dissociative anesthetics (phencyclidine), narcotic analgesics (methadone and morphine), and tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis. The focus of this work is to discuss the chemical interactions occurring between the drugs during separation. Future work will include using the QuEChERS extraction technique to remove the drugs from biological matrices.