Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $624,989)
The applicant proposes to develop and assess a protocol for collection of actionable, real-time quantitative forensic drug chemistry information that may be used to support investigations and prosecution strategies, connect related cases, project drug use trajectories, and identify potential overdose spikes before they fully develop.
The project is a partnership between the School of Pharmacy and Program Evaluation and Research Unit, the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner, the Pennsylvania State Police, both local and Federal law enforcement and prosecutors, and the U.S. Postal Service. Building on prior projects, they will create a quantitative, real-time forensic drug chemistry workflow using Allegheny County as a pilot site. This entails: creating a stakeholder steering committee to shape and improve the forensic drug chemistry workflow and dissemination system; creating a protocol to efficiently add and sustain quantitative, real-time forensic drug chemistry capability into an existing workflow; and developing and implementing a reporting mechanism to provide actionable information in real-time, and larger trend analysis to designated public safety and health officials. Then they will assess the validity and reliability of the information and its impact on case investigation, case connection, in providing actionable drug intelligence and surveillance data through studies. In addition to law enforcement, first responder, and other stakeholder interviews, research methods include a longitudinal analysis using data from 2015 forward on: drug seizures, drug identification, arrests, connections made between cases, case dispositions, non-fatal and overdose deaths.
"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).