Forensic Advancement: Just Throwing DARTs at the Opioid Crisis

Forensic Advancement: Just Throwing DARTs at the Opioid Crisis

← Back to Just Science Podcast

Original Release Date: December 17, 2018

In episode seven of our Forensic Advancement season, Just Science interviews Amber Burns, Chemistry Section Manager for the Maryland State Police Department, to discuss the role of technology in the fight against the current opioid epidemic. Opioid overdose is on the rise and fentanyl, one of the most prevalent opioids out there, is becoming more difficult to identify. By using the Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Mass Spectrometer, Burns and her team can detect the presence of fentanyl and other chemicals in recovered samples. Listen along as she discusses the technology they use and the current state of the opioid crisis in Maryland in this episode of Just Science.

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

Listen to or download the episode here:

Guest Biography

Amber Burns has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a Masters of Forensic Science.  She has been employed by the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division since 2005 and serves as the Forensic Chemistry Manager overseeing the three Controlled Dangerous Substances Units and the Toxicology Unit.  In addition to being an ANAB assessor and a very experienced CDS examiner, Ms. Burns has taken a lead role in the quest for safer, more efficient and more effective methods for detecting synthetic opioids.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contact us at with any questions and subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.

Related Content

Development of Analytical Methods for Measuring Δ9-THC in Cannabis Products

← Back to Webinar Series Page Tuesday, June 27, 2023 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EasternDuration: 1 hour Overview With the passage of the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (Farm Bill), forensic laboratories have been tasked with differentiating seized cannabis…

Research Clues to Appreciating a New Era of Cannabinoid Conundrums Webinar Series

Overview Use and abuse of various cannabinoids has seen significant growth over the past several years due to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill. Proliferation of new cannabinoid products derived from cannabidiol has resulted…