Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Thomas Pittman

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Anthony Bell

Committee Member 2 Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Member 3

Kuppareddi Balamurugan

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice


Legal high drugs are modified scheduled drugs. As with any new drug, researchers have to conduct studies to gather information about the drug. The problem with obtaining accurate information on new drugs is that by the time information is gathered, drug abusers and street chemists have developed new ones. Comparing designer drugs to their illegal counterparts is often helpful in that it can provide a starting point. Mephedrone is a new designer drug that has become a problem over the past few years. Often marketed as bath salts and plant food, mephedrone has become the knockoff replacement for amphetamines. This experiment focused on comparing liquid-liquid extraction to solid phase extraction to determine if there was a difference and which was more efficient. Synthetic urine samples were spiked with mephedrone, extracted using both methods, and analyzed with GC-MS. Spiked synthetic urine samples were also analyzed to determine the limit of detection for mephedrone. A T-ratio test determined that there is less than a 5% chance that LLE and SPE are the same for extracting mephedrone. The t ratios for extracting 0.5μg/mL via LLE and SPE were 5.567 and 6.542, which were above the level of significance t value 2.086. After determining that the methods were statistically different, the percent recovery of each method was observed. The percent recovery of SPE was higher than that of LLE for 0.5μg/mL, making SPE the better method. For 2.0μg/mL SPE percent recovery was less than LLE, proving LLE to be better in this case.