Synthetic Drugs Detection Project - Canine Forces Component

Implementing Organization
World Customs Organization

The canine component of the WCO Synthetic Drug Detection Project aims to provide beneficiary countries with the capacity to detect synthetic drugs including fentanyl at the cargo and passenger fronts at borders. The project aims to provide national administrations with guidelines and technical notes on canine synthetic drugs detection, as well as to provide practical training to enhance the effectiveness of their K9 units.  


The canine component of the SDDP (Synthetic Drug Detection Project) is currently being implemented.  Phase 1 consists of in-country scoping missions in Central Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and currently planning more regions.  Phase 2 is currently being implemented consisting of expert group meetings, regional workshops and creating the world’s first international standards in canine drug detection focusing on synthetics.   

Accomplishments to Date

The K9 component of the SDDP began in 2021 and till now has conducted in-country assessment on 6 countries (Argentina, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Dominican Republic).  

An Expert Group comprising of K9 experts from leading Customs canine programmes is formed to devise guidelines and training curriculums for effective canine synthetic drugs detection in particular that of fentanyl. The Expert Group will conduct a meeting in Melbourne, Australia in February 2024. 

Project Activities

Component K9 of the Synthetic Drug Detection Project includes the following phases:

  1. Threat analysis based on the country's seizure data and on international synthetic drug trafficking routes;  
  2. Assessment of beneficiary countries to accurately determine the stay-of-play of their K9 units and dog training center, in order to tailor project support to each beneficiary country (diagnostic mission carried out by accredited WCO experts who also identify national stakeholders, including training participants); 
  3. Expert group meeting (around 20 experts) to build a progressive training and upgrading program for K9 units;
  4. Regional training and national tutoring/mentoring on synthetic drug identification techniques by dog teams; 
  5. A results-based impact assessment. 
Global Level Outcomes

The Canine Component is expected to significantly improve the capability of countries in canine synthetic drugs detection in particular that of fentanyl and set out guidelines and technical notes relevant to both control units and national dog training centers. 

National Level Outcomes

Implementation of a national training program for K9 units in the detection of synthetic drugs, including fentanyl. 


Sylvain Raymond Drugs Programme Manager World Customs Organization sylvain [dot] raymond [at] wcoomd [dot] org (sylvain[dot]raymond[at]wcoomd[dot]org) SDDP [at] wcoomd [dot] org (SDDP[at]wcoomd[dot]org)

Current State Participants
Dominican Republic