Training Course on the Analysis of New Psychoactive Substances [NPS] for Forensic Experts

Implementing Organization

This program meets the critical need for specialized training in the detection and identification of synthetic drugs and NPS in seized materials, an essential skill for successfully prosecuting drug trafficking cases. This training program is tailored for technical staff in police and judicial forensic labs and aims to enhance their theoretical understanding and practical skills.  

Accomplishments to Date

Forensic experts from 12 OAS member states have benefited from this specialized training course, all actively contributing to various police and judicial laboratories.  
These sessions were instrumental in refining the experts' skills in drug identification, providing a valuable platform for discussing emerging drugs and the associated challenges.  
This initiative not only raised awareness of prevailing trends in drug seizures across the region but also played a pivotal role in bolstering regional cooperation among forensic laboratories.  
A noteworthy accomplishment of our program was the facilitation of knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices in laboratory techniques, which are essential for ensuring accurate and reliable drug identification. 

Project Activities

The training course includes the following steps: 

  1. Participants Identification: In collaboration with the national counterpart, we ensure that participants possess the appropriate expertise for this specialized course. 
  2. Country Engagement: Participants are provided a platform to share in-depth insights into the current state of synthetic drugs and NPS in their respective countries. They discuss challenges encountered in the detection and identification of these substances, offering details about the equipment available in their laboratories.  This insight offers a clear picture of their technical capabilities and available resources for tackling issues related to synthetic drugs and NPS.  
  3. Comprehensive Training Course: This program integrates theoretical knowledge with hands-on practice, fostering dialogue and discussion among participants. The course concludes with a practical case study, allowing participants to apply and showcase their newly acquired skills and knowledge. 
  4. Ongoing Follow-Up: After the training, a follow-up mechanism with counterparts is established to monitor the application of acquired knowledge and skills in participants’ day-to-day work. This approach also entails fostering communication and networking among participants, promoting national and regional collaboration among participating forensic laboratories. 
Global Level Outcomes
  • Enhanced Global Knowledge and Skills: This training is specifically tailored to enhance the expertise of forensic professionals in the detection and identification of synthetic drugs and NPS. It integrates insights from various international tools, methodologies, and approaches, equipping participants with a comprehensive understanding necessary to effectively tackle the challenges posed by synthetic drugs and NPS in a global context. 
  • Strengthened International Cooperation: The program equips forensic experts from diverse countries to engage in impactful collaboration with international organizations and forensic networks. It emphasizes the development of stronger collaborative and information-sharing systems, essential for amplifying global efforts to combat synthetic drug-related issues. 
  • Standardization of Forensic Practices: A pivotal outcome of this initiative is the promotion of standardized best practices for the detection and identification of synthetic drugs and NPS in seized materials in forensic laboratories. Emphasizing the implementation of quality control standards, this approach aims to minimize the risk of error in drug analysis. By enhancing the accuracy and reliability of forensic results, it seeks to make a significant contribution to international drug control efforts. 
National Level Outcomes
  • Improved Forensic Knowledge and Techniques: The training has improved participants' knowledge and skills in detecting, identifying, and analyzing synthetic drugs and NPS within forensic laboratories. The enhancement in expertise is quantitatively measurable through post-training examinations. 
  • Increased Laboratory Efficiency and Accuracy: The training has increased participants' awareness and understanding of synthetic drugs and NPS, enabling forensic laboratories to identify substances previously undetectable. This precise identification is crucial for the legal process, preventing the release of traffickers due to lack of evidence. Progress is monitored through follow-ups with laboratory supervisors, focusing on improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of drug analysis after the training. 
  • Enhanced National Forensic Coordination: The training has fostered better coordination and collaboration among federal/national, state/province, and local forensic laboratories. The primary goal of the training is to boost national effectiveness in drug analysis. The impact of this enhancement is assessed through frequent communication with counterparts. Moreover, the effectiveness of the training is evaluated based on the laboratories' improved ability to identify new drugs post-training, indicating a tangible increase in their analytical capabilities. 

Ms. Ana Alvarez Project Manager Supply Reduction Unit OAS/CICAD amalvarez [at] oas [dot] org (amalvarez[at]oas[dot]org)

Current State Participants
Costa Rica
El Salvador