Rates of opioid use and misuse have reached epidemic proportions and are impacting many aspects of both criminal justice and forensic sciences programs. Opioid addiction is the driving force behind this increase in use with more than 2.5 million Americans reporting a substance use disorder to prescription pain relievers or heroin in 2015; fueling a steady increase in fatalities to an estimated 91 U.S. deaths daily.  These rates are not slowing, rather they are doubling, quadrupling, or undergoing even more alarming increases in some areas. Law enforcement, medical professionals, laboratories, and legal agencies are battling with unmanageable caseloads; economic shortfalls; and challenges for safety, analytical preparedness, and basic education and training. Reliable surveillance and intelligence are needed more than they have ever been - confronted with the fast-paced emerging drug life cycles. The legislative quagmire is just as burdensome, as policy change cannot happen without the data to support change.

This webinar series will bring a multifaceted perspective to how diverse criminal justice disciplines are addressing these challenges; sharing their knowledge; and advancing science, technology, and law. Dealing with the impacts of the opioid crisis to the criminal justice system requires better reporting, surveillance, research, technology and policy that are currently in use. The need to understand the epidemic and its effects goes beyond knowing your own profession ― it takes a global perspective to fully act and make a difference.

A certificate of completion is available for all who register and attend these webinars.

Summary Report

This report summarizes the content of the 2017-2018 13-part webinar series, as well as the reception of the series by the forensics community. The project team made surveys available to all participants immediately following each webinar to obtain data metrics to assess the quality and impact of discussion content, and to gain information on the structure of the web audience.


Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

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

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