SWGDRUG Meeting Minutes

Barcelona, Spain

January 13 – 15, 2009


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Nelson A. Santos, Drug Enforcement Administration, Chair

Scott R. Oulton, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secretariat

Susan Ballou, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Suzanne Bell, West Virginia University

Michael Bovens, European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI)

Sylvia Burns, Forensic Science Service, England

Garth Glassburg, America Society of Crime Laboratory Directors

Linda Jackson, MidAtlantic Association of Forensic Sciences

Jack Mario, Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists and American Society for Testing Materials

Jerry Massetti, Northwestern Association of Forensic Scientists and California Association of Criminalists

Christian Matchett, Southern Association of Forensic Scientists and Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Iphigenia Naidis, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Osamu Ohtsuru, National Research Institute of Police Science, Japan

Richard Paulas, Mid-Western Association of Forensic Scientists

Catherine Quinn, Victoria Forensic Science Centre, Australia

Sandra E. Rodriguez-Cruz, Drug Enforcement Administration

Chris Tindall, Metropolitan State College, Denver, Colorado

Eileen Waninger, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Udo Zerell, Bundeskriminalamt, Germany


Not present:


Richard Laing, Health Canada

Robert Powers, Connecticut Department of Public Safety


Nelson Santos welcomed everyone to Barcelona and thanked Sue Ballou and NIST for the funding and organization of this meeting.   He noted that a quorum was present.


CLIC Collaboration


Nelson Santos explained that he had addressed the CLIC Board of Directors to discuss how SWGDRUG could interact with CLIC to develop and distribute a document regarding clandestine laboratory analysis.  Chris Matchett, the current president of CLIC, reported that the Board decided to participate. 


CLIC would have a subgroup which will craft a document which could then be adopted by SWGDRUG as a recommendation.  Chris envisions the clandestine laboratory document as an upper tier, big picture kind of document such as the Uncertainty recommendation.  The subgroup of CLIC would be made up of both US and International members.  The document would focus on the bench analysis of clan lab samples instead of the scene response aspects, which could be addressed later.  Chris noted that it may take a year to write this document since it will be done substantially via email and conference calls.  The possibility of a subgroup meeting in conjunction with the CLIC annual training conference in September was discussed.


The following topics were discussed in regards to the clandestine laboratory document:

·         How would this document differ from documents SWGDRUG has already published such as sampling and methods:  is the testing different, is the sampling different? 

·         What type of testing is needed for what level of identification? 

·         What wording is used for reporting for those levels of identification? 

·         What issues are involved with yield determinations?

·         What training areas for chemists/technicians should be defined?

·         What is the role of the forensic chemist in such investigations?


It was decided that a formal SWGDRUG subcommittee should not be formed for this project.  The project will be led by Chris Matchett who is affiliated with both groups.  He asked for input from others who are members of both groups.  A general discussion ensued regarding clan lab resources internationally. 


UOM Subcommittee


Suzanne Bell discussed the supplemental document of uncertainty examples.  She expects to have some examples to be completed by the end of the meeting.  The subcommittee has previously prepared text for a simple weighing example and a quantitation example with control charting.  The subcommittee is anticipating including 2 examples for weighing and 2 for quantitations (one with an uncertainty budget and one with control charts). 


Member Reports of SWGDRUG Presentations


Feedback was discussed from various presentations given by members.  Jack Mario discussed his work with ASTM.  The Validation document will be handled by ASTM in February 2009 along with the glossary.  ASTM will also deal with the addition of the botanist to the “Methods of Analysis/Drug Identification” document.  The “Quality Assurance/Uncertainty” document will be submitted to ASTM in 2009.


Editorial/Communications Subcommittee


Linda Jackson discussed the goal of the subcommittee, which is to review and propose changes to our current recommendations in order to maintain their relevance and ensure consistency between sections that were written at different times.  The core committee agreed to limit the changes to substantive issues.  Areas noted which will be addressed include:


·         The definition of contact hours in the Education and Training recommendation should be considered

·         The validation section of the QA/General Procedures needs to be aligned with the Validation section

·         The selection of tests in the Methods & Reports section should contain references to relevant discussions in the Validation and UOM recommendations.


Cooperation with ENFSI and Current Projects Report


Michael Bovens introduced the concept behind the ENFSI Drugs Working Group.  Scott Oulton has been participating with the ENFSI group to try and minimize the duplication of efforts between their group and SWGDRUG.  Current active project based subcommittees are Education & Training, Reference Material, and Quantitative Sampling.  Michael reviewed all projects that have been completed in the past.  The Guideline on Use of Reference Materials in Forensic Drug Analysis is ready to print for publication.


Current projects include: 


·         Production of ATS Drug Mass Spec Library 2008 (120 entries)

·         Training on Profiling of Drugs

·         Guideline on Quantitative Sampling – first draft due in 2010

·         Education and Training Manual – first draft not completed

o       Topics (Objectives, Modes of Instruction, References, Evaluation)

o       Areas addressed are presumptive tests such as spot tests, crystal tests precipitation and anion tests, TLC, GC, GCMS, LC, LCMS, FTIR

o       Areas yet to be addressed are general information regarding drugs


Subcommittee on Education and Training


Rick Paulas provided a review of our current E&T recommendations and the mission and scope of responsibilities of the original E&T subcommittee.  A discussion ensued regarding a CEU process, but there was general agreement that SWGDRUG was not the body to provide it.


A personal certification program was discussed.  Certification of analysts was discussed for countries in Europe, Britain, US and Australia.  In Europe it is believed that an accredited laboratory has proven that they are capable to train and prove competence of analysts. 


Discussion ensued regarding analyst certification that included the following:

·         Who will fund/organize certification of analysts?

·         Should SWGDRUG recommend certification? 

·         As an alternative to recommending certification, should SWGDRUG recommend topics that should be included in a certification program for the area of drug analysis?


Rick brought up the topic of a standardized training manual which received some support.  The goals or objectives for training modules could be in the high level document with an example of a training manual such as the DEA manual as a supplemental.  Iphigenia Naidis discussed how laboratories in countries just starting with new technology or setting up a laboratory need this type of information as objectives for training.     Although the core committee agreed to expand the details in the training document, it may need to be done in a stepwise manner.  Very detailed information would be best as a supplemental document.  


Nelson Santos reviewed the goals for the next two days and adjourned for the day.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Scott Oulton reviewed statistics from the website and noted that after the Uncertainty document was published, the amount of traffic on the website did not increase.  Scott will add a section for “International References” on the website to include links to documents from other organizations which we find useful.  Examples are from ENFSI, Eurachem, and UNODC.


Nelson directed the subcommittees to meet during the day and be prepared to present progress tomorrow. Subcommittees are:


Uncertainty:  Bell (chair), Burns, Tindall, Matchett, Udo Zerell, Ohtsuru, Mario

Education and Training:  Paulas (chair), Quinn, Bovens, Massetti, Glassburg, Naidas, (Laing)

Editorial:  Jackson (chair), Santos, Oulton, Waninger, Ballou, (Powers)


Thursday, January 15, 2009


Uncertainty Subcommittee


Suzanne Bell presented the progress of the uncertainty examples to the core committee while the rest of the subcommittee broke to continue working on the quantitation examples.  Three examples of uncertainty of weights were given.  The core committee agreed with the level of information and format.  Suzanne explained that the subcommittee will send this supplemental document to a metrologist prior to sending it out to the forensic community. 


Editorial Subcommittee


Linda Jackson presented the proposed changes to the current SWGDRUG recommendations.  The following changes were discussed and agreed upon in general principle:


·         References to the various chapters have been added with plans for hyperlinks

·         Language in the “QA – General Practice” section was removed that was duplicated in the Education and Training section and hyperlinks to the Education and Training section were added

·         The validation section of the “QA – General Practice” section was removed so that the reader is directed to the Validation document.

·         Language regarding qualitative uncertainty was added to the Introduction of the Methods of Analysis section


In order to release a document which adds the intra-document references and removes some duplicative text, Linda will clean up document and add the hyperlinks. Since there was not time to print and review all of these changes thoroughly, Nelson Santos approved an email vote prior to the next meeting.


Substantive changes will be reviewed and discussed at the next meeting.  The main point of discussion addressed the possible confusion within the Methods of Analysis/Drug Identification section when hyphenated techniques are utilized and how the requirement for testing on a second sampling is affected. The utility of testing a second sample was addressed.


Education and Training Subcommittee


Rick Paulas presented the subcommittee’s plan for recommending subjects which should be covered in a training program for drug analysts. 


The three areas of training would be Drugs of Abuse – General Knowledge, Drug Analysis and Forensic Context.  An outline of topics within these three training areas would be added.  This information would be added to the current Education and Training recommendation.  These topics would then be fleshed out in a hyperlinked supplemental document with references.  Laboratories could choose appropriate modules to utilize in their training programs.


Examples of topics to be included in the Drugs of Abuse – General Knowledge section are:

·         Classification of drugs

·         Drug Chemistry

·         Street knowledge

·         Clandestine lab chemistry / Investigation

·         Drug profiling


Above topics would then be expanded as the example of Drug Chemistry:

·         Nomenclature (Structural/Chemical names…)

·         Structural chemistry (Isomers/analogues/homologues/derivatives…)

·         Chemical properties (Structure/form/stability/solubility/extraction/derivatization…)


Topics will be expandable by utilizing hyperlinks which will allow for references to be included when available.


The subcommittee will work between meetings to complete the list of topics for discussion by the core committee.  The core committee agreed with this direction and applauded the effort of the subcommittee.


Nelson Santos closed the meeting and thanked all members for their effort.  The next meeting of the core committee is tentatively scheduled for the week of either July 6-10 or July 13-17, 2009.


Minutes respectfully submitted by Linda Jackson on February 11, 2009