BGSU part of team to study opioid field test method

Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science, tech company partnership receives grant

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The Attorney General's Center for the Future of Forensic Science at Bowling Green State University is part of a team that will conduct a study that could help Ohio authorities safely, quickly and reliably field test drugs for the presence of opioids. 

The study was announced by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers on September 12.  

“As a public university, we’re committed to helping address the critical societal issues facing the state,” Rogers said. “This is a great example of the real-world, applicable research the center is doing to aid law enforcement.

The Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science and Vuronyx Technologies of Woburn, Massachusetts, are part of a partnership that received a $200,000 grant as part of the Ohio Third Frontier's Opioid Technology Challenge, an effort to find technology-based solutions to address or improve opioid abuse prevention, treatment and overdose avoidance and response.

“We welcome this opportunity to partner with Vuronyx to develop this rapid opioid detection technology,” said Dr. Jon Sprague, director of the center.

The grant funds will be used to develop small, portable paper test cards that could be used by first responders, law enforcement agencies, medical professionals and crime scene investigators in the field to quickly detect opioids and cutting agents in drug samples. The Center will conduct a study to validate the results of the test cards using control substance standards alone and in the presence of cutting agents at various concentrations.

“Right now, we discourage local agencies from field testing drugs because opioids are just so dangerous, but we are excited about the prospect of helping to develop this new technology,” DeWine said. “The goal is to help local authorities quickly determine what type of drugs they’ve encountered while limiting the chance for an accidental exposure.”

Visit the the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge’s webpage for more information.