Regional Fentanyl Trends, Safety & Field Testing Technology

Regional Fentanyl Trends, Safety & Field Testing Technology

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Regional fentanyl trends in Phoenix and Pittsburgh will be discussed along with safety concerns with unknown white powders. Handheld field testing technology will also be discussed including RAMAN and IMS.

This webinar will discuss trends in Phoenix and Pittsburgh for fentanyl, fentalogues, and other novel opioids. Yearly trends, types of packaging, and specific drugs will be discussed. One of the interesting differences between Phoenix and Pittsburgh is the type of heroin being encountered, black tar versus powder. This difference has an important impact on the fentanyl supply to these two areas and the form of fentanyl, pills vs. powder.

The rise of fentanyl and concerns over safety have had drastic impacts on law enforcement, first responders, and forensic laboratories. These concerns have created a general fear of suspected opioid samples that are white powders. While the dangers of these substances are significant, these fears should not overshadow the fact that forensic laboratories have long dealt with dangerous substances. Engineering controls and laboratory safety protocols have been in place to prevent accidental exposure to controlled dangerous substances in the laboratory. A review of these policies, controls, and evaluation of workspaces should be completed by all laboratories concerned. Narcan should be available in all laboratories handling controlled dangerous substances and all scientists should be trained on how to use it. At the same time employees should be taught the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose. It is necessary to ensure that chemists/scientists understand the need to pay attention to changes in other employee’s behavior and monitor for further changes.

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

Roger Schneider
Joshua Yohannan

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