Defense Date


Document Type

Directed Research Project

First Advisor

Emanuele Alves

Second Advisor

Michelle Peace

Third Advisor

Justin Poklis


In the past 20 years, the rate of opioid use increased drastically in the United States. The country has experienced an enormous number of deaths caused by opioid overdose, opioid use disorder (OUD), as well as other harms as a consequence of the high numbers of opioid prescriptions. Fentanyl, a well-known synthetic opioid, has been a contributor to the opioid crisis since 2013 due to its popularity in clinical and illicit use. It has a high potency, which makes it an effective analgesic but a dangerous illicit substance. A new synthetic opioid, bucinnazine, has recently become a new black-market opioid that is not scheduled in the U.S. Bucinnazine is structurally distant from fentanyl and its main analogs, but it demonstrates pharmacological properties that are similar to fentanyl. New synthetic opioids, including bucinnazine, are difficult to identify in routine testing due to the constant changing structures. Despite the clinical history of bucinnazine, little data is available concerning its metabolism. A method for the determination of bucinnazine was devised using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Precursor and product ions were identified and used to develop a rapid and accurate method for identification of bucinnazine and its metabolites in different samples.


© The Author(s)

Is Part Of

VCU Master of Science in Forensic Science Directed Research Projects

Date of Submission


Available for download on Wednesday, May 03, 2023