This first episode of the 2020 R&D Season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series features an interview with Dr. Ling Wang, post-doctoral associate at Florida International University, who discusses the detection and quantitation of fentanyl mixtures by Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy and Chemometrics.
Background information for the interview notes that opioid abuse has increased significantly in the last few years. This is being accompanied by new fentanyl analogs that have appeared in street drugs at an alarming rate. Dr. Wang is one of many researchers working to create alternative screening methods for detecting the ever-evolving fentanyl compounds in currently seized drugs. The interview includes a discussion of graduate programs, the nuances of analyzing fentanyl, and Dr. Wang's work in detecting and quantitating emerging drug compounds. Because fentanyl is so toxic, the interview includes a description of the safety precautions Dr. Wang uses when working with unknown substances that may contain fentanyl. Dr. Wang also answers questions about the benefits of using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy and Chemometrics when analyzing substances that may contain fentanyl.