The Department of Sciences




The use of NMR spectroscopy for the identification of drugs of abuse in aqueous media

Dr. Elise Champeil – Science Department John Jay College

The world population of "Problem drug users", defined as regular users of illicit substances is estimated at between 15 and 39 million. Amphetamines, cocaine, opiates and cannabis are the most abused substances. In addition non-medical use of prescription drugs is reportedly a growing health problem in a number of developed and developing countries. Deaths related to or associated with the use of illicit drugs are estimated between 104,000 and 263,000 deaths each year. These facts clearly point to a crucial need for developing and improving analytical methods to identify such drugs. It is also critical to develop methods for the analysis of drugs and their metabolites in biological specimen such as urine, blood, sweat and saliva; particularly in a forensic context.

Chromatographic and hyphenated methods (LC and GC-MS) may require sample preparation such as extraction and derivatization of the compounds and extensive operator training; they are also time consuming. A powerful technique for the detection of drugs of abuse is Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In this talk, we illustrate the use of NMR to identify and quantitate levels methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) and gamma hydroxy butyric acid in biofluids and aqueous media. NMR has many advantages. For example it is not limited to screening for specific drugs can be obtained directly from the biofluid specimen (urine, plasma, saliva). Finally, quantitation analysis can easily be performed. All these facts indicate that NMR spectroscopy is a great technique for the detection of drugs of abuse in biofluids in a forensic situation.

After a Ph.D. and a post doctoral fellowship in synthetic Chemistry, Elise Champeil joined John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2006. Her research interests include Mitomycin C derivatives, molecular sensors and the detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse. She has worked with numerous students from diverse backgrounds. In the Masters’ program, 4 of her former students have now finished their research project; she is currently supervising 5 students. Her work has been published, among other scientific journals, in "Forensic Science International", "Chemical Research in Toxicology" and the "Journal of American Chemical Society". She is on the editorial board of the "Journal of forensic Toxicology".

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Time: 4:40 PM All Are Welcome
At: Science 5
Floor Lecture Room
John Jay College
524 West 59 Street NYC 10019 


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