Help Needed Creating Fentanyl-Detection Standards

ASTM International’s homeland security applications committee (known as E54) is looking for experts to help develop standards that will help first responders be safer and more effective when dealing with fentanyl and fentanyl-related compounds.

First responders at federal, state, and local agencies use various types of equipment and assays in the field to characterize unknown and potentially dangerous samples that could be drugs. However, according to Rich Ozanich of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the true performance of these tools can be difficult to determine because of diverse sample types and potentially interfering material (e.g., cutting agents). This could result in false results and/or incorrect implications on how to handle, he notes.

The two proposed standards to help address this are: a guide for using equipment and assays for field detection (WK69940) and test methods for establishing performance of such equipment and assays (WK69941). The standards aim to help stakeholders better understand the performance and potential weaknesses of these tools.

Ozanich, an ASTM International member, notes that first responders involved in drug interdiction and equipment manufacturers are most likely to benefit from the proposed standards. 

Anyone who works in the fentanyl detection field is invited to participate in developing the standards. Become a member of ASTM. The next meeting of the committee is Feb. 3-5, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

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