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Sunday, July 25th, 2021

DHS, PNNL launch effort to improve detection of synthetic opioids

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to improve the detection of synthetic opioids.

Specifically, as part of this initiative, DHS and PNNL will assess the performance of field detection equipment against fentanyl, fentanyl-related compounds, other drugs, and cutting agents. The participating vendors will obtain the latest reference spectra for approximately 50 DEA-controlled substances, including novel synthetic opioids.

End-users of this equipment—the first responder and interdiction communities, as well as interested federal, state, and local agencies—will gain a broader understanding of the capabilities and limitations of current field detection equipment.

“We are excited for this opportunity to partner with industry to improve detection capabilities and provide front-line operators with confidence in their detection equipment against opioids, and other new and emerging synthetic drugs,” S&T Program Manager Dr. Rosanna Anderson said.

DHS S&T and PNNL invite industry partners to participate by submitting their field portable drug detection equipment for consideration by Jan. 15 at 2 pm EST. The effort targets instruments used by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement and first responders that use spectral libraries to identify unknown samples suspected of containing illicit drugs. These include field-portable Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometers, high-pressure Mass Spectrometers, Ion Mobility Spectrometers, Raman Spectrometers, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometers.