Distribution and Optical Purity of Methamphetamine Found in Toxic Concentration in A Civil Aviation Accident Pilot Fatality

Distribution and Optical Purity of Methamphetamine Found in Toxic Concentration in A Civil Aviation Accident Pilot Fatality

Website or Online Data - 2003
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The Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute conducts toxicological evaluation of postmortem biological samples collected from pilots involved in fatal civil aircraft accidents. The submitted samples are primarily analyzed for the presence of primary combustion gases, alcohol/volatiles, and drugs. The findings of a unique aircraft accident are described in this report. Upon crashing in weather conditions of poor visibility, a 1-occupant airplane was substantially damaged, with no evidence of fire. Remains of the pilot were found outside the crashed aircraft. Pathological examination revealed multiple blunt force injuries and vascular congestion, including subdural hemorrhage of the cerebral cortex. Autopsied samples -- blood, brain, gastric contents, heart, liver, muscle, spleen, urine, and vitreous fluid -- were submitted for toxicological analysis. The fluorescence polarization immunoassay showed 8.0 micrograms/ml amphetamines in urine. Subsequent gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric confirmatory analysis determined the presence of methamphetamine and amphetamine in blood and urine. The amount of methamphetamine found in gastric contents was 575-fold higher than that of amphetamine. Stereochemical analyses of gastric contents, blood, and urine using a chiral probe indicated that methamphetamine detected in the sample types was not optically pure. In gastric contents and urine, this secondary amine's optical isomers were present in equal proportions. The enantiomeric excess of (+) methamphetamine over its (-) form was about 32% in blood. Both optical forms of amphetamine were present in the ratio of 1.2-1.5:1.0 in the 3 sample types. The blood methamphetamine concentration found was in the range sufficient to produce toxic effects. Findings support the conclusion of the NTSB that, in addition to the visibility-associated adverse weather conditions, the use of the controlled substance played a contributory role in this accident.
Publisher: Washington, DC : U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Aerospace Medicine, [2003]
Characteristics: 1 online resource (i, 7 p.) : digital, PDF file


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