Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Marta Concheiro-Guisán

Second Reader

Gail Cooper

Third Advisor

Matthew Levitas


Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases have increased in recent years. According to NHTSA, drug use among fatally injured drivers who were tested for drugs rose from 25% in 2007 to 61.4% in 2020. Knowing what drugs are used by the drivers and developing new analytical tools to detect them are essential to prevent this type of cases. The goals of this study were two-fold: 1) To investigate the prevalence of drugs and drug combinations in New York City based on data provided by the Office Chief Medical Examiner (2018-2019); 2) To develop and validate an analytical method for the determination of 32 drugs and metabolites in oral fluid collected by Quantisal device, including the most prevalent drugs in the New York City region. The most prevalent substances detected in New York drivers in 2018 and 2019 were ethanol, cocaine, fentanyl and cannabis, being ethanol combined with other drugs the most common finding (50% cases in 2018, 52% in 2019). The developed method in oral fluid extracted one mL of oral fluid-Quantisal buffer mixture by solid phase extraction and the instrumental analysis was performed by LC-MS/MS. The linearity range was from the limit of quantitation of 0.5, 1, or 5 ng/mL, depending on the compound, to 200 ng/mL. All compounds had bias within ±20% and imprecision<20%. Most compounds had extraction and process efficiencies >50%. This method was applied to 14 authentic oral fluid samples as proof of concept.



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