All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Elizabeth A Gardner

Advisory Committee Members

Kari Bowen

Jason Linville

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

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

Abstract

Methamphetamine is an addictive drug that can be clandestinely manufactured using common household products. Several recipes have been developed for clandestine “cooks,” including the Nazi/Birch Method, the Red Phosphorous Method (Red P Method), the Phenol–2–Propanone Method, and the one pot “cook.,” The goal of this research was to develop a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS) method to detect methamphetamine (meth) residues and/or its precursors on areas of a user's or a meth cook's clothing that are likely to contain high amounts of perspiration. Areas that were likely to have been in contact with residues or meth contaminated surfaces in a clandestine laboratory (clan lab) were also examined. The method was tested using an acid/base organic extraction on new white sweatshirts spiked with methamphetamine hydrochloride and d–pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. The analysis was then performed on non–probative fabric samples confiscated by law enforcement from suspected and known methamphetamine users and/or cooks. The extracted samples were analyzed for methamphetamine and its precursors. Successful results from this experiment may lead to the development of a method for the detection of meth on fabrics using GC/MS. Valid results may also help to establish probable cause for suspected child endangerment charges as well as provide a definitive link between methamphetamine users and/or manufacturers and an active “cook.” This link could serve as further evidence that a child living in this environment has been exposed to dangerous chemicals. In the state of Alabama, detecting the presence of methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine at a suspected meth lab helps to establish proof of the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine. The results of this research show that methamphetamine was detected on non–probative samples. Methamphetamine, lidocaine, cocaine, and unconfirmed detection of acetaminophen, nicotine, N–cyclohexyl–N–methyl cyclohexamine, diethyl phthalate, and DEET have been detected at retention times of 4.39, 7.36, 8.61, and 3.95, 5.20, 5.89, 6.20, and 6.22±0.05 mins, respectively. The analysis was performed using a 30m Agilent DB–5 column starting at 70°C and ramping to 290°C at 30°C/min with a 3 mins hold time at the final temperature. To date, pseudoephedrine has not been detected on the non–probative samples.

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