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UNODC Laboratory and Forensic Science Section publishes guide for forensic laboratories

UNODC, 13 July 2020. The Forensic Science and Laboratory Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has launched a new technical publication entitled "The role of drug testing laboratories in early warning systems", targeting forensic laboratories that are part of national and regional early warning systems.
The publication aims to establish guidelines for the use and role of laboratories in an early warning system.

Early warning systems are inter-agency information exchange mechanisms created to reduce and lessen the impact of emerging drugs through timely detection, hazard assessment, and generation of reliable information for relevant authorities and NGOs.
Within this mechanism, forensic laboratories play a fundamental role, since they are the ones that, first hand, carry out the validation of the initial detection of the substance, identification, and degree of risk that it represents for human consumption.
One success story is that of El Salvador which, after increasing its capacity for the identification of NSPs and synthetic drugs, the drug observatory received its first alert on synthetic drugs and NSPs in the mail from Europe. This success was achieved thanks to the donation of equipment and training provided by UNODC's SMART programme, financed by Canada, to the Central American nation.

The new publication will help laboratories and participants in an early warning system to understand their role within this mechanism and will allow the EWSs of the member countries to work more effectively and efficiently.