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Fieldable Analytical Instrumentation for Safe On-site Identification of Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs in Illicit Street Drug Seizures

Friday, December 3 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Virtual Event

Illicit fentanyl, often produced in foreign clandestine labs and trafficked into the US in powder and pill form, is primarily responsible for fueling the ongoing opioid crisis. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, used as adulterants in illicit substances and counterfeit pills, are significant contributors to overdose deaths; nearly 70% of overdose deaths in US in 2018 involved an opioid. Beyond overdose cases, fentanyl potency causes an inherent danger to first responders, many of whom report acute illnesses just from being in close proximity to fentanyl. Current field detection methods utilize colorimetric tests, which can result in false positives, but also involve handling bulk quantities of the unknown sample. The use of analytical instrumentation and methods in the field can provide positive identification of the unknown substance, often without direct handling. We will discuss and display several fieldable analytical instruments and techniques for their ease of use, selectivity and other benefits in a field setting. The use of stand-off detection using a Pendar Technologies X10 Raman spectrometer will be displayed. Other Raman-based sensors, including Thermo Fisher TruNarc™, Thermo Fisher Gemini™ Raman and FTIR analyzer, Rigaku® Pregeny, as well as the benefit of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) will be reviewed. Additionally, analyses with a field portable FLIR G510 gas chromatograph with mass spectrometer (GC-MS) detection for confirmatory identification will be shown. Finally, other novel techniques that could lead to rapid field identification of fentanyl will be discussed.

To register, please visit go.fiu.edu/forensicregistration.

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