NIST Symposium on Synthetic Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic to Take Place October 30-31, 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President

In 2016, roughly 64,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses, more than triple the number from 2000. Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and its novel analogs have played a major part in this public health crisis. To address this epidemic, law enforcement and public health officials need improved standard methods, reference materials, and data sharing about emerging illicit substances.

In collaboration with Cayman Chemical, The Fredric Reiders Family Foundation, PinPoint Testing, and other industry partners, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites you to take part in a discussion concerning the analytical challenges associated with synthetic opioids. This symposium, being held October 30-31, 2017, in Ann Arbor, MI, will include public and private sector organizations that play an important role in helping to identify these substances, including instrument manufacturers and standard reference material developers. The goal is to strengthen the analytical capacity of forensic and public health laboratories as they work to address this growing crisis.

The purpose of this symposium is to facilitate an exchange of ideas among members of the scientific community in federal, state, and local governments; private industry; and academia to better understand the current and future challenges faced by those dealing with the opioid epidemic.


  • Identify trending synthetic opioids.
  • Discuss concerns of first responders, law enforcement, and the forensic labs in terms of evidence handling, safety, and emerging threats.
  • Identify poly-drug mixtures, sample matrices, and adulterants being encountered in the forensic laboratories and the challenges this has posed for analysis of drug evidence.
  • Share new methods development and the associated validation processes to identify new drugs and drug metabolite characterization, identification, and quantitation.
  • Explore tools and methods to increase confidence and reduce time of identification of emerging drugs.
  • Share novel approaches to improve analytical capacity and enhance timeliness of analytical results.
  • Discuss how we can use what is currently known to be able to predict where synthetic chemists may take us next.
  • Identify communication and research needed to understand drug exposure impacts and dosage levels.
  • Discuss collaborative mechanisms, including public and private partnerships, that would benefit the toxicology and drug enforcement communities.

The registration deadline is October 27, 2017. For more information, go to: