This first episode of the 2021 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) R&D and Beyond mini-season of the NIJ podcast series is an interview with Dr. Frances Scott, a physical scientist in NIJ’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, who discusses NIJ’s Seized Drugs and Toxicology research and development portfolio.
Background information for the interview notes that with the introduction of new and more complex substances every year, forensic laboratories need access to cutting-edge technology that enables the efficient and effective identification of drugs being trafficked and abused in the opioid epidemic. In her interview, Dr. Scott discusses the features of NIJ support for a research portfolio in the disciplines of drug analysis and toxicology. Dr. Scott first reviews her academic and professional background in chemistry and its applications in forensic science. She is then asked about her work in developing and implementing NIJ’s research portfolio that is relevant to facilitating the identification and analysis of drugs in forensic and toxicological analyses. NIJ’s drug-related research focus is on the efficient and effective identification and analysis of seized substances; substances identified in postmortem toxicological analysis; and the expansion of ways to identify the presence, characteristics, amounts, and effects of drugs being consumed, seized, and clandestinely manufactured. Another feature of NIJ’s drug-related research portfolio is the effort to expand its outreach to non-forensic research fields that can show their relevance to the concerns of forensic drug-related research.