Forensic Science Student Presents Graduate Research at NEAFS Annual Meeting

By Haley Bibey | November 29, 2023

On Wednesday, November 8, 2023, Shayna Kasher, a second-year graduate student in Arcadia University’s Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) program, had the incredible opportunity to present her toxicology graduate research at the annual Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS) meeting, a nationally recognized professional organization for forensic scientists, in Mystic, Connecticut. Her oral research presentation was titled, “Method Development and Validation for a Quantitative Panel of Psychoactive Adulterants of Illicit Drugs of Abuse.” 

For her research, Shayna is focused on developing and validating a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-QQQ-MS) method for the detection, identification, and quantitation of toxic psychoactive adulterants of abuse, including xylazine, procaine, benzocaine, tramadol, levamisole, phenacetin, lidocaine, and quinine in biological fluids such as blood, urine, and oral fluid.

Both diluting and bulking agents, as well as toxic adulterants, can be added to illicit drugs. A striking danger of this is that most adulterants possess some type of pharmacological activity in the human body, meaning that they can cause additional side effects in combination with those of the drug of abuse. Many of these toxic adulterants can have detrimental health effects with chronic consumption, and therefore, it is critical that the field of forensic toxicology develops methodologies that allow for their detection and identification in toxicological samples.