Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Seized Drugs

All of our webinars, reports, podcast episodes, and other educational resources are available to the public at no cost.

Funding for the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.

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US and forensic science disciplines

2021 Forensic Science Research Federal Stakeholders Public Meeting

Overview The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), held a Forensic Science Research Federal Stakeholders meeting on November 8, 2021 from 9:00AM…
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Harnessing Data to Implement Real-Time Data-Driven Overdose Response Strategies

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour In response to the lack of real-time reporting of both non-fatal and fatal overdoses across the United States, the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (W/B HIDTA)…
certificate of death and drugs

Death Certification by the Medical Examiner/Coroner in Drug-Related Deaths

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour Considering the steadily rising number of overdose deaths in recent years, public health systems rely on the vital role of medicolegal death investigation (MDI) to better understand…
tiles and data

Data Systems Imperative in 21st Century Forensic Services

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on November 16th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Forensic science and service providers are, almost universally, experiencing a two-fold challenge to achieve effective results: diminishing resources and increasing demands for quality…

The Importance of Data to the MDI Community and Stakeholders

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on November 2nd, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Many stakeholders rely on medicolegal death investigation (MDI) data to support efforts that help save lives and promote justice. These stakeholders include federal,…
feet, person touching tablet, human diagram

Medicolegal Death Investigation (MDI) Webinar Series

Overview The medicolegal death investigation (MDI) system, which includes Medical Examiner and Coroner offices, serves a fundamental role for supporting public safety by conducting death scene investigations, performing forensic autopsies, providing cause and manner of death determinations, and completing death…

Sam Quinones | International Award-Winning Author – The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth

This webinar originally occurred on October 28, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and an international award-winning author of four books of narrative nonfiction. Quinones’ latest book, The Least of Us: True Tales of…
question marks and silhouettes

2021 National Forensic Science Week Practitioner Interviews

← Back to Main Page Overview The FTCoE has conducted a variety of written interviews with forensic professionals in various stages of their careers. From recent graduates to retired professionals, the FTCoE showcases real-world perspectives on the current state of…

2021 National Forensic Science Week FTCoE Student Research Poster Session

Overview  As fall semesters are getting back into session and in honor of the upcoming National Forensic Science Week (September 19-25, 2021), the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) would like to highlight student research in the forensic sciences! The…

Criminal Justice and Public Health Response for Emerging Drug Threats

Overview In a joint effort with the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP), FTCoE develops capabilities that meet the needs of forensic science organizations to improve collaborations across the criminal justice and public…
type writer with stack of papers

Multiple Perspectives on Overdose Fatality Reviews

This webinar originally occurred on July 27th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This webinar provided an overview of overdose fatality reviews (OFRs) with a specific focus on engaging partnerships with coroners, medical examiners, and medicolegal death investigators.  The presenters highlighted OFRs…
hand touching hexagons

Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation

Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation The National Institute of Justice and its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence convene the Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation in collaboration with and supported by the Centers…
microphone and headphones

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…
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Just Addressing the Stigma of Substance Abuse Disorder

In episode nine, Just Science interviews Clarence Jordan, the Vice President of Wellness and Recovery at Beacon Health Options, to discuss stigma and its impact to programs designed to support those with substance use disorder and on individual level outcomes.  There is no shortage of stigma surrounding the overdose crisis facing our…
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Just the DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System

In episode eight, Just Science interviews DeMia Pressley from the DEA’s Diversion Control Division to discuss the importance of information sharing across law enforcement and public health agencies through forensic partnerships.  The National Forensic Laboratory Information System, otherwise known as NFLIS, is a…
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Just Building Policy From The Ground Up

Original Release Date: March 5th, 2021 In episode seven, Just Science interviews Dr. Alex Kral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at RTI International, about innovative policy solutions to improve outcomes for people with substance use disorder.  Community-based research takes place within community settings and involves community members which allows…
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Just Alternative Crisis Response: One Community’s Experience

In episode six, Just Science interviews Tim Black of the White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon about the CAHOOTS program, a community-based public safety model that provides mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and substance use…
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Just Partnerships To Enhance Overdose Fatality Review

In episode five, Just Science interviews Dr. Mallory O’Brien, Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, to discuss how partnerships can enhance Overdose Fatality Reviews.  The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) is the only state-based reporting system that covers all types…
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Just the Story of the Healthy Grandfamilies Project

Original Release Date: February 12th, 2021 In episode four, Just Science sat down with Bonnie Dunn, Co-Director of the West Virginia Healthy Grandfamilies Project, to discuss a free initiative that provides information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more of their grandchildren. Children…
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Just The Importance of Identifying Emerging Drug Threats

Original Release Date: February 5th, 2021 In episode three, Just Science sat down with Amanda Mohr and Dr. Alex Krotulski from the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education to discuss the analytical and interpretative challenges associated with emerging drug threats.  The Center for Forensic Science…
Chemical symbols over plants

Structural Characterization of Emerging Synthetic Drugs by Mass Spectrometry

This webinar originally occurred on Friday, March 5th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour The main focus of this webinar is on the use of isotope labeling, multi-stage mass spectrometry (MSn), ion spectroscopy, and accurate mass measurements with high resolution mass spectrometry…
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Just the Intersection of Opioids and Illicit Stimulants Part 2

Original Release Date: January 29, 2021 This week, we continue the conversation with Dr. Zibbell as he discusses the American history of drug epidemics, what we can learn from past stimulant crises, and the importance of tailoring interventions in this episode of Just Science.  This season is in…

Preemptive Approach to Combatting and Characterizing Emerging Synthetic Opioids

This webinar originally occurred on Monday, February 8th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This webinar described how preemptive synthesis and characterization of potent psychoactive substances from the literature can aid forensic scientists in the identification of unknowns appearing in samples emerging…
Drug paraphernalia

Novel Synthetic Opioids in Oral Fluid: Analytical Methods and Prevalence

This webinar originally occurred on Thursday, February 11th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Opioid use has risen dramatically, creating public safety concerns. Synthetic opioids can be hundreds of times more potent than heroin and can produce severe intoxications and even fatalities…
gloved hand holding up small plastic bag containing white powder

ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness – Drug Exposures in the Forensic Laboratory: What We Know, What We Can Learn

This webinar originally occurred on June 25th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours The recent rise in the illicit trade of highly toxic, synthetic drugs such as fentanyl has introduced a new set of potential health hazards to the forensic laboratory. Proper…
dried marijuana plants/ two scientists examining living marijuana plants/ glass test tubes in a machine

The Sequel – Marijuana or Hemp: From Farm Bill to Forensic Analysis

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 2 hour(s) Due to the overwhelming attendance and interaction for the first Marijuana or Hemp: From Farm Bill to Forensic Analysis webinar that was originally held on January 15th 2020,…
two people riding tandem bicycle

Recent Advances in Tandem Separation and Detection Techniques for the Analysis of Emerging Drugs

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) The use of tandem separation and detection techniques can be thought of as a tandem bicycle: one passenger is the separation technique and the other passenger…
scientists in laboratory/marijuana flower

ASCLD Train the Director – Marijuana Analysis in a New Frontier: Two State Laboratory Approaches

This webinar originally occurred on March 5th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours After the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) was enacted in December 2018, many states rushed to make changes to their own laws to allow the hemp industry…

The hidden costs of the opioid crisis and the implications for financial management in the public sector

Jeri Ropero-Miller and Paul Speaker   Report Date Volume 1, 2019, Pages 227-238 Abstract The November 2017 release of the Council of Economic Advisers’ White House report on the opioid crisis suggests that prior consideration of expenses severely underestimated the…

2019 National Institute of Justice Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…
Custom graphics with the words Global Monitoring/ Substance Identification, Trend Analysis, Toxicology Portal, Risk Communication, Prioritization for International Action, and National Legislative Responses

UNODC Early Warning Alert System: Forensic Tools for New Psychoactive Substances

This webinar originally occurred on December 3rd, 2019 Duration: 1 hour The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Early Warning Advisory (EWA) on new psychoactive substances (NPS) was launched in June 2013 as a response to the emergence…
a field of red flowers

Forensic Epidemiology: Monitoring Fatal Drug Overdose Trends

This webinar originally occurred on February 11th, 2020Duration: 1 hour Given the vital role of medical examiners and coroners (ME/C) in recognizing emerging trends in drug overdose deaths, partnering epidemiologists with ME/C offices can greatly enhance the utility of the…
a pair of hands reach for pills, a syringe, a baggie of white powder, and a cell phone.

The Next Wave: Applying Lessons Learned from Opioids and PolyDrug Critical Incidents in Addressing Emerging Drug Threat

This webinar originally occurred on November 12th, 2019 Duration: 1 hour By participating in this webinar, participants were able to discuss the breadth, diversity, and array of substance and substance combinations as well as the latest trends in novel psychoactive…
chemical compounds

Opioids & Emerging Drug Threats – Integrating Public Safety and Health Data for a Forensic Response Webinar Series

Overview Building on the momentum of the National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum held earlier this year in Washington, D.C., the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) will assist the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in a complementary initiative surrounding the topic by hosting…
Decorative banner mimicking the appearance of concrete with Forensic Technology Center of Excellence fingerprint logo

The Opioid Epidemic: An Update from the Coroner/ME Perspective

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 Duration: 50 minutes Between 2016 and 2017, overdose deaths increased from 63,632 to 70,237. Of these, 47,600 overdose deaths involved opioids. In 2017, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia were the top…
hands pouring baggie of white powder onto a surface under green light

Understanding the Impact of Drug Background Levels in Forensic Laboratories

This webinar originally occurred on August 13th, 2019 Duration: 2 hours As drugs become increasingly potent and analytical instrumentation becomes more sensitive, the need to understand and monitor drug background levels is becoming imperative.  Background monitoring is commonplace in many…

Success Story: Enabling Forensic Field Testing with Paper Microfluidic Devices

National Institute of Justice and Florida International University Report Date April 2019 Overview Forensic investigators, law enforcement, and military personnel are often placed in potentially dangerous situations when they come across suspected drugs, explosives, and bodily fluids while in the…

Novel Forensic Chemistry Research from Early-Career Scientists

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM ET Duration: 1.5 hour(s) National Forensic Science Week recognizes the contribution that forensic science makes to the criminal justice system. Throughout the week, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE)…

Webinar: Identifying Seized Drugs using Mass Spectral Library Searching

 Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) The rapid spread of designer drugs has introduced significant identification challenges to the forensic science community. This webinar discusses how Mass Spectrometry and the “Hybrid Search”…

Three Part Online Workshop Series: Best Practices Guidance for Advancing Research Initiatives and Combatting the Synthetic Drug Epidemic

Archives   Overview The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) is a world-leading center in novel drug identification and interpretation. The CFSRE is working in association with NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), led by RTI International,…

Conference Proceedings: 2018 Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…

Making The Case For Prevention: Fighting The Opioid Epidemic

← Back to Series  This webinar focuses on universal and primary prevention efforts to address prescription drug misuse and abuse; and the use of innovative analytic techniques to evaluate their effectiveness. The current response to the opioid epidemic has appropriately…

Fentalogs – Pharmacology, Toxicology & Analytical Approaches

← Back to Series  We will review the chemistry of fentanyl, its analogs and precursors, their pharmacology and relative potency, and approaches to identifying novel fentanyl analogs in forensic toxicology casework. Fentanyl and its analogs, sometimes called “The Fentalogs”, are…

Identify Synthetic Opioids using Ambient Ionization TOF-MS

← Back to Series  This webinar will present the results of the evaluation of Direct Sample Analysis Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry to provide rapid identification of eighteen fentanyl analogs and related synthetic opioid. As of March 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration…

Reports of Adverse Events Associated with Use of Novel Psychoactive Substances, 2013–2016: A Review

This article was published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology and authored by Barry K. Logan, Amanda L.A. Mohr, Melissa Friscia, Alex J. Krotulski, Donna M. Papsun, Sherri L. Kacinko, Jeri D. Ropero-Miller, Marilyn A. Huestis. This work was developed, in…

2016 National Institute of Justice Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…