Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Interdisciplinary Studies


HPLC, Forensic, Cutting Agents, Adulterant, Diluent, Quinine, Salicylic Acid


Chemicals and Drugs


Oftentimes, illegal drugs are cut with additional substances, known as cutting agents. These cutting agents fall into two categories: Diluents and adulterants. Diluents have no physiological effect on the user and simply allow the distributor to give the perception of “more product made.” Common examples of diluents are usually everyday household commodities (i.e., sugar or corn starch). On the other hand, adulterants are used to mimic or enhance the drug's physiological effects (i.e., caffeine in cocaine). As such, these do have drug-like properties (i.e., CNS stimulation or depression, etc.). This thesis seeks to use High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to efficiently detect and quantify mixtures of these cutting agents. It must be stated that this research did not examine any drug (over-the-counter or illegal). Instead, this research focused on two legal cutting agents only. In summary, there are three goals for this project: (1) Research HPLC methods that can detect known concentrations of two common cutting agents, (2) identify these cutting agents as compared to the standards made in the laboratory, and (3) determine a method of analysis that can successfully detect these cutting agents in under ten minutes.