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Just Science Podcast: Just the Importance of Identifying Emerging Drug Threats

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2021

This third episode in the National Institute of justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Amanda Mohr and Dr. Alex Krotulski from the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, who discuss the analytical and interpretative challenges associate with emerging drug threats.


Dr. Krotulski is a Research Scientist III at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE). He is overseeing the collaborative efforts of NPS Discovery, the CFSRE flagship program for the identification of new synthetic drugs and the dissemination of information on their impact. Ms. Mohr is the Associate Director of Research CFSRE. In this role, she works on a variety of analytical projects associated with toxicology samples, teaches graduate students on analytical and instrumental toxicology lab, and is a principal investigator on grant-funded research. Both Mohr and Krotulski are working on a project called NPS Discovery, a model for monitoring, forecasting, and responding to emerging novel psychoactive substances. In this interview, they discuss the features of NPS Discovery, analytical challenges associated with novel psychoactive substances, and the value of community partnerships. They identify the sources of data for determining patterns in the use and effects of novel psychoactive drugs (NPS). Once an NPS appears in the data, features and use patterns and effects are examined. This information is dispensed to strategic sources for monitoring its presence and effects. Information and data on an NPS are dispensed to healthcare providers, medical examiner offices, and other disciplines that may encounter manifestations and effects from a NPS. Networking is an important aspect in identifying and collecting data on various NPS features and effects and then disseminating information and data to those likely to encounter an NPS and its effects in their research or service delivery.