New Protocol for Measuring Background Levels of Drugs in Crime Labs

When crime lab chemists handle evidence that contains illegal drugs, trace amounts of those drugs are inevitably released into the laboratory environment. When chemists scoop a bit of powder to test it, for instance, microscopic particles can become airborne and later settle on nearby surfaces. Particles can also be spread by touch. To some degree, this is an unavoidable byproduct of the testing process, and it can result in detectable background levels of drugs in the lab.

An Integrated, Holistic Analytical Response to the Opioid Epidemic

In the USA, the escalation of deaths due to drug toxicity has been driven largely by rising numbers of overdoses involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as fentanyl. In 2016, synthetic opioids (other than methadone) were involved in 19,413 overdose deaths representing 30.5% of total drug deaths; 3.5 times the number observed in 2014.

New Standard Helps Organizations Create Forensic Audio Lab Space

A new ASTM International standard will help any organization that needs to create a forensic audio laboratory space. The standard (E3150), developed by ASTM’s committee on forensic sciences (E30), provides general guidance for laboratory setup and maintenance of equipment.

Podcast: Forensic Nurses as Coroners

The latest episode of the NIJ's Forensic Technology Center of Excellence podcast, Just Science, features an interview with Bobbi Jo O'Neal, the Chief Deputy Coroner of Charleston, South Carolina, who discusses the unique skills that forensic nurses can provide as coroners.

Analytical Strategies for the Opioid Crisis

In late August 2018, the Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice announced publication of a multi-agency research study identifying recent advancements and examining recognized challenges in the fight against synthetic opioids.


Can Latent Prints Reveal Lifestyle Information?

A study published this year in the journal Scientific Reports concludes that mass spectrometry imaging of chemical compounds in latent fingerprints can reveal important details about an individual's lifestyle.

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Interview with an Expert

One of the more specialized areas of crime-scene investigation has to do with searching for evidence of arson. To get some background in this area, we spoke with an individual who has had more than 46 years in fire service, 24 of which have focused specifically on fire/arson investigation.