June 23, 2021
Staff Accomplishment

Opioid Research Showcased by Department of Homeland Security

Panelist Rich Ozanich discussed PNNL’s work to improve opioid detection standards and tools 

PNNL scientist conducting fentanyl research

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists are doing opioid research to help first responders detect, identify, and interdict illegal opioids and treat opioid overdoses. This work was featured as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Whole-of-Government Virtual R&D Showcase.

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is working to improve detection equipment used by emergency responders to sniff out dangerous synthetic opioids and keep communities safe.

PNNL’s Rich Ozanich, project manager of opioids standards and equipment testing, talked about this important work as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T) Directorate’s Whole-of-Government Virtual R&D Showcase. The event features a series of expert panel discussions on how U.S. government research organizations are building stronger and more resilient communities.

Ozanich kicked off the showcase June 21 as part of the discussion, “Opioids Detection and Partnerships: Responding to a Public Health Crisis.” The panel highlighted PNNL’s partnership with DHS S&T, industry, and communities to improve detection of synthetic opioids.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has established a world-class capability to research opioids. (Video: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

For example, PNNL is using its fentanyl handling and detection expertise to assess the performance of detection equipment used by emergency responders. This work informs standards and tools for quickly detecting fentanyl and its analogs—enabling emergency responders to better protect themselves from exposure to the dangerous drugs.

“PNNL has a long history of working with DHS S&T, and in recent years, we have worked to develop important fentanyl standards and approaches for validating field detection equipment performance,” Ozanich said. “I was honored to be a part of this showcase and grateful for the opportunity to share the work we are doing that will benefit first responders and communities.”

A screenshot of panel of experts discussing opioid detection
Rich Ozanich (bottom left), project manager of opioids standards and equipment testing, served on a panel of experts discussing opioid detection. The panel was part of a virtual showcase of research, science, and innovation across U.S. government research organizations. (Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

The panel of experts also included Rosanna Anderson, DHS S&T program manager of opioid detection and first responder capabilities; Col. Tom Synan, chief of the Newtown, Ohio, Police Department; and Phil Mattson, DHS S&T standards executive.

The opioid discussion was one of four expert panels released on June 21 that make up part one of the four-part showcase event, which will unfold throughout the summer. This first series of pre-recorded panel discussions, “Enhancing Public Health Security and Resilience,” is available to watch on demand.

Published: June 23, 2021