On Jan. 11, 2016, the OSAC Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) voted to elevate ASTM Standard E2329-14 "Standard Practice for Identification of Seized Drugs" to the OSAC Registry of Approved Standards. The standard is used by forensic laboratories as a protocol for testing seized drug evidence to determine if drugs of abuse such as cocaine or heroin are present. This is the first standard posted to the registry.
ASTM E2329-14 contains the following sentence: "It is expected that in the absence of unforeseen error, an appropriate analytical scheme effectively results in no uncertainty in reported identifications." The FSSB and NIST agree that the term "effectively results in no uncertainty" means different things to different readers of the document. While this language was deemed appropriate by its authors, it was deemed inappropriate by others including NIST. Consequently, NIST, OSAC, and ASTM have agreed to work together on new language that conveys clear meaning. This process is expected to take approximately 6 months. The OSAC will consider the revised ASTM document as quickly as possible for updating the current document on the registry. It is important to note that the concern over ASTM E2329 is in regards to the specific language used in the standard; neither the FSSB nor NIST is contesting the analytical results obtained from seized evidence using the standard.
NIST and the FSSB will continue to work together on OSAC process improvements to help ensure consistently high quality scientific reviews of documentary standards that the forensic science community can endorse as trusted, valuable resources.