Forensic science is the use of scientific methods or expertise to investigate crimes or examine evidence that might be presented in a court of law. Forensic science comprises a diverse array of disciplines, from fingerprint and DNA analysis to anthropology and wildlife forensics. Though they represent varied disciplines, all forensic scientists face a common set of challenges. How do you ensure that forensic methods produce reliable results? How do you communicate findings to a jury or other nonexperts in a way that is accurate and understandable? How do you keep up with new technology without falling behind on casework? Meeting these and other challenges is critical to ensuring that forensic science remains a powerful force in support of justice and public safety.
“A new drug might appear, then three or six months later it’s gone, replaced by something new,” said NIST chemist and program manager Marcela Najarro. “It’s a totally different ballgame than 10 or 15 years ago.”
To help with that issue and others, NIST researchers are giving law enforcement and public health experts new tools to combat fentanyl and other synthetic drugs.
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