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Just Science Podcast: Just Polysubstance Use and the Importance of Data Trends

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2021

This tenth episode in the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Josh Yohannan, a forensic chemist and expert in emerging drug trends, who discusses polysubstance use in the opioid overdose epidemic.


Background information for the interview notes that polysubstance use significantly increases the potential for overdose or adverse side effects of drug use. Although there is no general description of all persons who use drugs, all who use multiple drugs face dangers to their health. Josh Yohannan’s promotion of forensic analysis in intelligence for law enforcement has contributed to a better understanding of polysubstance use, which facilitates the identification of emerging drug threats during the opioid epidemic. In his interview, Yohannan discusses polysubstance abuse, the complexities of identifying new drug trends, and the value of quality and timely data. The key focus of the interview is the development and coordination of the collection, analysis, and publication of drug-related data obtained from law enforcement drug seizures, medical and forensic data from survivors of drug overdoses, and postmortem toxicology analyses. Collecting, analyzing, and publicizing such drug-related data can assist in preventing opioid users from consuming other drugs that create a toxic combination that risks an overdose.

Date Published: March 1, 2021