Forensic Technology Center of Excellence


Just Polysubstance Use and the Importance of Data Trends

Just Polysubstance Use and the Importance of Data Trends

In episode ten, Just Science interviews Josh Yohannan, a forensic chemist and expert in emerging drug trends, about polysubstance use in the opioid overdose epidemic. 

Polysubstance use dramatically increases the potential for overdose or negative side effects of drug use. While there is no “one-size-fits-all" description of a person who uses drugs, there is one common thread linking them together: the danger they face when multiple substances are at play in their system.  

Josh Yohannan’s experience in expanding the use of forensic analysis in intelligence for law enforcement has helped communities better understand polysubstance use, ultimately making it easier to identify emerging drug threats during the opioid epidemic. Listen along as he discusses polysubstance abuse, the complexities of identifying new drug trends, and the value of quality and timely data in this episode of Just Science. 

This season is in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program funding to respond to illicit substance use and misuse in order to reduce overdose deaths, promote public safety, and support access to services. 

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

Original Release Date: March 26th, 2021

Listen/Download at:

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Guest Bio

Josh Yohannan received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and economics from Vassar College. Received a master’s degree in chemistry at North Carolina State University. Began his career as a crime scene technician at the Baltimore Police Department and moved into the drug chemistry unit. Went to the Howard County Police Department (MD) as a forensic chemist. After Howard County he went to the DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory and was a member of the Emerging Trends Drug Group, focusing on synthetic cannabinoids, substituted cathinones, and phenethylamine hallucinogens. Was the manager of the drug chemistry and trace units at the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner.

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