Department Chair

M. Scott Goodman, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Forensic Science, M.S.


Chemistry Department


Douglas Ridolfi, M.S., Coordinator of Forensic Chemistry

Department Home page

First Reader

Douglas Ridolfi, M.S., Coordinator of Forensic Chemistry

Second Reader

Alexander Y. Nazarenko, PhD., D.Sc., Associate Professor of Chemistry

Third Reader

Kimberly Bagley, PhD., Professor of Chemistry


Currently the quantitation of opiates at the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office Toxicology Laboratory is conducted through whole blood analysis. The objective of this thesis project was to determine if the analysis of opiates could be conducted through liver analysis, and if the analysis of opiates would provide a more accurate quantitation compared to the blood analysis. The quantitation of opiates was conducted from the livers of sixty-four possible overdose cases that were brought into the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office between 2013 and 2015. Results showed that the opiate drugs could successfully be quantitated using the liver analysis. Generally the data showed there to be quantitatively more drugs measured in the liver in comparison to the blood. The liver is the primary site for the metabolism of toxins in the body, and results conclude that opiates are present, generally, in higher levels in the liver than in the blood.


The project was conducted in collaboration with the forensic science program at Buffalo State and the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office Toxicology Laboratory under guidance of the fourth reader: Christine Giffin, M.S., Chief County Toxicologist.