Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Chemistry

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 38 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jan Halamek


Acetylcholinesterase, Butyrylcholinesterase, Fentanyl, Toxicology, Chromatographic analysis, Chemistry, Forensic

Subject Categories



Opioids and other illicit drugs have become a very prevalent problem across the world, especially in the United States. In fact, every day more than 130 people die from an opioid overdose. Despite many public warnings explaining the risks of opioid and drug use, the epidemic has continued to grow. As illicit drugs are becoming more rampant in society, law enforcement officers need a reliable, rapid, and non-invasive method to detects when someone may be on drugs, for example while driving, and to assess unknown powders or substances when presented at a crime scene containing drugs. Currently, at traffic stops there is no accurate and reliable method to detect when someone may be under the influence of drugs, as well as, there are no fast, reliable methods to also detect drug residue on someone or in their respective vehicles. To help in combating this growing issue, noninvasive, bio affinity-based assays have been developed for detecting the presence of drugs. This system we created is simplistic with a biochemical reaction that produces a color change visible to the naked eye. Although simplistic, this assay is re-programmable with the use of different enzymes to detect different drugs. The created system was evaluated spectrophotometrically. Exploring the detection of different drugs with an enzymatic based system can greatly impact society in a positive way. If a law enforcement officer pulls someone over while driving and has the suspicion that they are under the influence of drugs or has drugs present in the vehicle, by using these bio affinity- based assays a portable method, such as a strip, can be created by immobilizing the enzymes to the strip. Such a strip can then be either touched to the suspect’s skin or wiped on the interior of the car, in which a rapid yet efficient result- shown by a color change- will allow the officer to take the correct steps to ensure proper safety for themselves and the general public.

Included in

Chemistry Commons