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Development of Liquid Chromatography-tandem Mass Spectrometry (Lc-ms/Ms) Methods for Exploration of Currency Contamination with Controlled Substances

Veitenheimer, Allison
The purpose of this research was to develop and validate a method for the quantitation of controlled substances on currency using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The LC-MS/MS instrument was optimized for the quantitation of cocaine, codeine, heroin, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methamphetamine, and morphine in methanol by adjusting instrument parameters in the ion path and the source. Validation was performed to determine precision, accuracy, sensitivity and selectivity of the analytical method. Filters to be analyzed were obtained through vacuum extraction of sets of ten bills of each of the following denominations: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The filters were extracted in methanol containing deuterated internal standard and the concentrations of controlled substances on the filter were determined through LC-MS/MS. Domestic and foreign currencies were analyzed in this study. The LC-MS/MS method was successfully developed to quantitate cocaine, codeine, heroin, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methamphetamine, and morphine and was subsequently validated. The method utilized a gradient LC method with electrospray ionization and three ions per analyte in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode. The limit of quantitation for cocaine was 0.0664 ng/bill, codeine was 0.0742 ng/bill, heroin was 0.0743 ng/bill, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was 0.0730 ng/bill, methamphetamine was 0.0639 ng/bill, and morphine was 0.0268 ng/bill. There was a total of 2,100 domestic bills sampled and contamination percentage was 81.43% for cocaine, 0.48% for codeine, 1.43% for heroin, 1.90% for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), 4.29% for methamphetamine, and 3.34% for morphine. Cocaine was detected from 4 of 32 foreign currency locations and no other controlled substances were detected.