Date of Award

Spring 6-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor

Richard A. Stripp

Second Reader

Damon Borg

Third Advisor

Marta Concheiro-Guisan


A liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS) method was developed and validated to detect for the presence of zolpidem in human hair samples. Zolpidem is a sedative hypnotic whose adverse effects make it a common drug found in drug facilitated crimes (DFC). It is important to be able to detect and quantitate the drug after a long period of time due to the victim’s delayed reporting of the crime. Hair’s long window of detection makes it a useful matrix for DFC investigations. The linear range of the assay was targeted at 2 pg/mg to 1,000 pg/mg and experiments designed to test this range returned acceptable R2 values (> 0.985) in all cases. The lower limit of linearity was established at 2 pg/mg. Accuracy and precision of the assay were determined through replicate analysis of quality control samples. Both intraday (n=3) and interday (n=15) accuracy and precision data were within acceptable limits, +/- 20% error and 15% RSD. The matrix effect, recovery, and process efficiency were determined to be 15%, 70%, and 10%, respectively. Additionally, the processed sample stability of quality control samples at room temperature and dilution integrity of spiked samples were found to be acceptable. No significant carryover was seen between samples. This validated method was used to analyze authentic hair samples from donors with reported zolpidem drug use as well as cosmetically treated samples spiked with zolpidem. Results indicate possible interferences in the analysis of zolpidem in cosmetically treated hair, but not authentic, untreated hair.



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