All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Curt Harper

Advisory Committee Members

Elizabeth Gardner

Jason Linville

Karen Valencia

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name by School

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

Abstract

In recent years, oral fluid has emerged as a vital biological specimen for driving under the influence of drug (DUI/D) cases among toxicology laboratories. Oral fluid possesses numerous advantages. The collection process is non-invasive, rapid, and simple compared to other traditional biological specimen, such as blood or urine. Due to its simplicity of collection, oral fluid can be collected proximate to the actual time of driving, traffic stop, or crash. Oral fluid as a biological specimen is also able to capture active parent drugs of recent use, especially for drugs that were administered orally. However, because oral fluid testing program is not common to most forensic toxicology laboratories, some aspects such as method development, validation, and cost are pending further studies. Lean Six Sigma is a continuous improvement process methodology that enables to increase customer satisfaction and quality of the product via defining problem, measuring and analyzing data, designing and verifying a solution. Using a Lean Six Sigma method, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) Toxicology discipline initiated a cost-analysis on analytical assays to identify major cost contributors. The previous study by Sarah Guertin primarily focused on cost-analysis of extraction, which embodies the use of consumables, reagents, standards, and analyst time, to determine the costliest assay that may be considered as a candidate for a transition into automation. As a continuation of her study, this study expands the cost-analysis of assay to post-extraction process to provide a full cost overview of performing assays from extraction to release of toxicology report. The cost-analysis of assays serves as a foundation to estimate the cost associated with performing oral fluid screening and confirmatory testing program at ADFS. The cost analysis was performed on the following areas of DUI/D investigation: (i) screen and confirmation testing in oral fluid only DUI/D cases, (ii) screen and confirmation testing in blood only DUI/D cases, (iii) screen and confirmation testing in both blood and oral fluid DUI/D cases. The cost analysis on oral fluid testing program suggested estimated cost associated with various oral fluid testing programs.

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