Date of Award

Spring 5-25-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Richard Stripp

Second Reader

Marta Concheiro-Guisan

Third Advisor

Damon Borg


Methamphetamine (MAMP) is a highly addictive illicit drug typically abused for its nervous system stimulating effects. Conversely, methamphetamine has therapeutic use treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, controlling appetite and assisting with weight loss, and is available as the pure l-isomer in over-the-counter (OTC) nasal inhalers due to its decongestant activity. Because l-methamphetamine (l-MAMP) is available in OTC form, forensic guidelines require a sample to contain greater than 20% d-methamphetamine (d-MAMP) when classifying results as consistent with illicit MAMP use. Chiral chromatographic analysis is capable of distinguishing between l-MAMP and d-MAMP. This study was designed to develop and validate a method for the detection of d/l-MAMP in hair. Reverse phase liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MSMS) and a chiral derivatizing agent were used in this study. MAMP was extracted from hair specimens using mixed mode cation exchange solid phase extraction cartridges and extracts derivatized with Marfey’s reagent. Chromatographic separation of the isomers was achieved using a standard reverse phase (C18) LC column. Linearity, accuracy and precision were all within acceptable criteria. Intraday accuracy ranged from 96.76% to 102.62% and a precision 0.31 to 2.80%. Previously tested hair samples that resulted in a positive result for methamphetamine using non-chiral analysis were analyzed using this validated method. It was found that 100% of all samples (n = 20) tested positive for d-MAMP at greater than 20%.

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