Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Forensic Analysis of Drug Traces from Fabric

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

Forensic analysis of drugs is well established for many types of samples commonly encountered during investigation of criminal behavior. However, the unfortunate increase in synthesis and use of methamphetamine and other abused drugs has increased exposure of both perpetrators and innocents to these harmful substances. Analysis of drug traces from clothing or other fabric is of great importance in establishing a link between physical evidence and case scenarios in the pursuit of justice. The present work focuses on the design and testing of new collection devices for measurement of drug traces by Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) mass spectroscopy. Preliminary studies identified solvents and absorbent materials capable of quickly, efficiently extracting small amounts of drug from a variety of fabrics. A variety of patterns were made in absorbent materials to allow heated, ionized gasses from the DART source to interact with the absorbed sample and subsequently flow unimpeded into the mass spectrometer. Then, sample holders were fabricated to mount the absorbent materials for rapid introduction into the DART instrument. Preliminary results demonstrated detection of only 3 µg of methamphetamine in one minute. Optimization of the system is targeted towards development of a sample collection kit capable of rapid collection of trace drugs from all types of fabric. Results from DART analysis of these kits would likely be useful in supporting criminal charges such as drug manufacturing and child endangerment.

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Forensic Analysis of Drug Traces from Fabric

Forensic analysis of drugs is well established for many types of samples commonly encountered during investigation of criminal behavior. However, the unfortunate increase in synthesis and use of methamphetamine and other abused drugs has increased exposure of both perpetrators and innocents to these harmful substances. Analysis of drug traces from clothing or other fabric is of great importance in establishing a link between physical evidence and case scenarios in the pursuit of justice. The present work focuses on the design and testing of new collection devices for measurement of drug traces by Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) mass spectroscopy. Preliminary studies identified solvents and absorbent materials capable of quickly, efficiently extracting small amounts of drug from a variety of fabrics. A variety of patterns were made in absorbent materials to allow heated, ionized gasses from the DART source to interact with the absorbed sample and subsequently flow unimpeded into the mass spectrometer. Then, sample holders were fabricated to mount the absorbent materials for rapid introduction into the DART instrument. Preliminary results demonstrated detection of only 3 µg of methamphetamine in one minute. Optimization of the system is targeted towards development of a sample collection kit capable of rapid collection of trace drugs from all types of fabric. Results from DART analysis of these kits would likely be useful in supporting criminal charges such as drug manufacturing and child endangerment.