Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $125,000)
This agreement provides funding for a postdoctoral scientist at SFL1, specializing in the area of synthetic organic chemistry. The recent December 2019 NIJ Needs Assessment of Forensic Laboratories findings (Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats section: https://www.justice.gov/olp/page/file/1228306/download) highlighted the skyrocketing costs associated with forensic laboratory expenditures as well as the challenges posed by access to timely information and reference materials. Funding for a postdoctoral position would directly address the following specific needs identified by NIJ:
- Access to certified reference materials to accurately identify fentanyl analogues and other novel psychoactive substances in both drug and toxicology evidence.
- Strengthened coordination among forensic laboratories and medical examiner/coroner offices and other public safety and public health stakeholders to advance information and data sharing efforts.
NIJ funding for the postdoctoral scientist would be used to directly support publicly funded state and local laboratories, in addition to federal labs, through a 3-pronged approach. Funds would be used to: 1) identify new & emerging drugs, 2) disseminate analytical data through the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG), and 3) provide physical reference materials that are not commercially available (or possibly prohibitively expensive) to crime labs to support their drug identifications.