Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Chemistry

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 44 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jan Halámek


Fentanyl, Fluorescence spectroscopy, Butyrylcholinesterase, Bullets, Atomic absorption spectroscopy, Chemistry, Forensic

Subject Categories



Opioids are substances that bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system and can be endogenous, naturally occurring opium alkaloids derived from opium poppy or semi-synthetic and or synthetic compounds.1 Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has flooded the US market in the last decade. Synthetic opioid deaths increased by 100% from 2015 to 2016.2 The synthetic opioid is still used to treat severe chronic pain and during surgeries as an anesthetic, but has flooded the black market through illegal means. Fentanyl is prescribed in the forms of patches and lozenges, but can be abused and illegal sold in these forms.3 Fentanyl is often mixed with other illegal drugs, such as cocaine, MDMA and heroin. Alone, fentanyl can be 50-100 times as potent as morphine, and fentanyl derivatives can be even more potent.4 However, when cut and mixed with other drugs, it can become even more deadly. A lethal dose of fentanyl in humans is estimated to be only 2 mg.5 Overdoses can occur when a drug user unknowingly uses a drug that has been cut with fentanyl or when a stronger analog of fentanyl is cut or used. With all the ongoing issues that this country faces with opioids and fentanyl, it is important to have a quick detection method. Using displacement could lead to a quick and reliable testing method that could eventually be used by law enforcement and healthcare workers.

Included in

Chemistry Commons