This eighth episode in the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with DeMia Presley, the program officer for the National Forensic Laboratory Information Management System (NFLIS), who discusses the importance of the collection and sharing of drug-related data across law enforcement and public health agencies.
Background information for the interview notes that the NFLIS is a federal Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA) program that collects results of forensic analyses and other related information from local, regional, and national entities. NFLIS is distinctive among similar programs in making participation entirely voluntary. This means that DeMia Presley and other members of NFLIS must solicit information and share what they have learned with the forensic community. In the interview, she discusses the purpose of the NFLIS program, the importance of partnerships within the forensic community, and how NFLIS data are used to inform drug policy and drug law enforcement initiatives. The NFLIS solicits information from forensic labs on the features of drugs that are involved in law enforcement drug seizures and medical examiner findings from toxicology testing in drug overdose cases. Such data are important in assessing what is happening with emerging drugs and their impact on users. NFLIS produces monthly reports on what current data show about the nature of drugs being consumed based on forensic labs’ toxicology findings for samples sent to them by law enforcement agencies and medical examiner offices. NFLIS also engages in surveys of forensic labs and medical examiner offices to facilitate their understanding of the importance of providing toxicology data to NFLIS and receiving NFLIS reports that inform them about the drugs being detected and used in other jurisdictions.