U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Challenges in Identifying Novel Psychoactive Substances and a Stronger Path Forward

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2022

In this article from the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) “Notes from the Field” series, Alex J. Krotulski, associate director of the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRE), discusses the importance of non-targeted testing to keep pace with a rapidly evolving synthetic opioid market. He explains how with support from NIJ, the CFSRE and its scientists were able to demonstrate how novel sample-mining and data-mining workflows are valuable tools for the early identification and discovery of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and emerging drug trends. Krotulski details how the NIJ-funded NPS Discovery remains in operation as a national drug early warning system and warehouses an open-access database that allows laboratories to rapidly share and consume information on novel psychoactive substances as soon as they are found. The database also includes reports on other vital drug information, including detections in drug materials, demographics, geographical distribution, and impacts on drug using communities.

Date Published: June 1, 2022