This fifth episode of the 2018 Research and Development (R&D Season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series presents an interview with Dr. Jamie Wieland and Dr. Christopher Mulligan of Illinois State University, who assess the cost-effectiveness of implementing portable mass spectrometers for on-site drug evidence processing.
Wieland and Mulligan are cooperating in determining the cost-effectiveness of a portable mass spectrometer that can reliably identify drugs in the field without having to conduct additional laboratory analysis. Mulligan is focusing on the testing of portable mass spectrometry to determine its reliability, ruggedness over time under field conditions, and its use by law enforcement personnel who are not forensic scientists or technicians. Dr. Wieland, who has an advanced degree in industrial engineering, is focusing on the overall cost of using portable mass spectrometers, assuming that they are proven durable, produce evidence acceptable in court, and can be operated by trained law enforcement personnel. Currently, the cost-effectiveness analysis is encouraging, increasing the expectation that portable mass spectrometry will be cost-effective for use by law enforcement agencies.