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FTCoE Online Workshop Series Focuses on Synthetic Drug Epidemic

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2018
2 pages
This article describes the content of a webinar series sponsored by the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) to help practitioners better understand and prepare themselves for the challenges of the synthetic drug epidemic.
Dr. Barry Logan was instrumental in planning the series. He has served for 19 years as state toxicologist, overseeing Washington State’s forensic alcohol and drug testing program in addition to his work as executive director of the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CSFRE). He wrote Session 1, entitled “The Synthetic Drug Crisis - Identifying Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS),” in which he describes the synthetic drug crisis as a whole and how it affects everyone who deals with these drugs, from law enforcement to lab professionals, coroners, and medical examiners. This session focuses on the importance of sharing information among stakeholders in developing ways to combat this epidemic. Session 2, “Analysis of NPS - Practical Considerations and Analytical Approaches” includes a presentation by Eric Lavins of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Regional Forensic Science Laboratory and Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, the location of the introduction of carfentanil, a NPS. This article indicates that law enforcement officers will likely get the most overall benefits from Session 3, in which presenters focus on synthetic drugs as a public health crisis. Information is provided on fentanyl and the crime scene, including how responding officers must handle crime scenes that involve “white powder” differently than they have in the past. This session also includes presentations on drug-impaired driving cases and motor vehicle fatalities, crime scene and autopsy findings in medicolegal death investigations, and some of the effects of specific NPS. The online link to this webinar is provided in this article. 1 figure
Date Published: September 1, 2018