Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $296,966)
Delaware Division of Forensic Science (DFS) is charged with forensic science services statewide. There is one state Division of Forensic Science (DFS) in Delaware with locations in Wilmington and Georgetown. The Forensic Chemistry Unit (FCU) and Toxicology Unit within DFS have seen a rise in the number of opioid cases containing fentanyl compounds and the related analogs are becoming more difficult to identify when analyzing the chemical breakdowns. Within the Forensic Chemistry Unit, three instruments used to identify these compounds are aging and require increased maintenance, and therefore increased downtime. Replacing these instruments with state-of-the-art instrumentation will allow chemists with the unit to process opiate cases more efficiently. The DFS is seeking 2021 Paul Coverdell Grant funds to 1) Purchase three (3) Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) instruments in the Forensic Chemistry Unit to increase its efficiency in the analysis of an increasing number of opiate cases, and 2) Obtain training for forensic chemists and toxicologists who conduct the opiate testing and forensic investigators and medical examiners who investigate suspected opiate overdose deaths to enhance their knowledge and maintain competency and licensure. Funds requested in this application will increase the timeliness and efficiency of the DFS by replacing older GC-MS instruments that require increased maintenance and downtime while streamlining analysis through the purchase of three identical GC-MS models which will be used to analyze opiate and fentanyl analog cases. In addition, funds will be used to pursue training opportunities for members of the Forensic Chemistry, Toxicology, and Medical Examiner units to maintain certification and expand knowledge of novel techniques used to combat the opiate crisis. The goal is to equip DFS with the necessary items to operate efficiently and therefore improve case processing and continue to produce accurate scientific results.