All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Stephen Barnes

Advisory Committee Members

Elizabeth Gardner

Jason Linville

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) College of Arts and Sciences


Confirmation testing for drug screens has most commonly been conducted using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), but the use of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods has been gaining popularity in recent years. This can be attributed to several advantages that LC-MS has over GC-MS including the ability to detect non-volatile, thermolabile and polar compounds. Additionally, most compounds can be analyzed without any previous derivatization steps, meaning that sample prepara-tion is simpler, cheaper and faster. The method used for this study consisted of using a nano-LC-electrospray ionization (ESI) system in conjunction with a hybrid Quadrupole OrthogonalTime-of-Flight mass spectrometer (QTOF-MS), which yields high mass resolu-tion, high mass accuracy, and untargeted MS1 and MS2 scans of the samples. Urine samples provided by the Jefferson County drug court were analyzed to de-termine the presence of illicit substances. We were then able to determine whether any of the samples contained substances that are not currently screened for, or any substances which the drug court may miss due to the limit of detection of the urinalysis. An example of an illicit substance of interest that Jefferson County does not cur-rently screen for is fentanyl. There has been an increasing number of opioid-related over-doses across the nation due to heroin being laced with fentanyl or other synthetic opioids as a way to increase the potency. Therefore, we aimed to determine if substances such as these are present in the urine samples from drug court participants in Jefferson County. Using this method, fentanyl was confirmed in the urine samples that were provided.