SWGDRUG Meeting Minutes

San Antonio, Texas

January 25-27, 2011


Core Committee Members (present):


Scott Oulton, Chair, Drug Enforcement Administration

Sandra Rodriguez-Cruz, Secretariat, Drug Enforcement Administration

Suzanne Bell, West Virginia University

Linda Jackson, Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists

Scott Vajdos, Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Eileen Waninger, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Susan Ballou, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Richard Paulas, Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Christian Matchett, Southern Association of Forensic Scientists

Sylvia Burns, Forensic Science Service, England

Michael Bovens, European Network of Forensic Science Institutes

Udo Zerell, Bundeskriminalamt, Germany

Catherine Quinn, Victoria Forensic Science Centre, Australia

Garth Glassburg, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors

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

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

Robert Powers, Connecticut Department of Public Safety


Core Committee Members (not present):


Richard Laing, Health Canada

Iphigenia Naidis, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Osamu Ohtsuru, National Research Institute of Police Science, Japan



Eric Person, Fresno State University

Angeline Yap Tiong Whei, Asian Forensic Sciences Network

Pam Reynolds, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Karen Phinney, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Jay Hopenwasser, Note Taker, Drug Enforcement Administration




Welcome/Introduction of New Members/ Review of Conference Agenda


Scott Oulton opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introducing the invited guests, Eric Person, Angeline Yap Tiong Whei, Pam Reynolds, Karen Phinney, and Jay Hopenwasser (note taker).  Scott Oulton set the goals of the meeting to focus on four areas: Education and Training, Analysis of Clandestine Laboratories Evidence document, Uncertainty examples, and Reporting recommendations.  Mr. Oulton noted that a quorum was present.


Invited guest Angeline Yap Tiong Whei introduced herself and discussed the Asian Forensic Sciences Network (AFSN). AFSN is a relatively new organization that currently represents 18 forensic laboratories in Asia.


Revision to Reporting Recommendations/Public Comment Period Results


Linda Jackson discussed the proposed changes to the Part IV A Section 9.2 Report Writing recommendation.  Details of the public comments were outlined by Ms. Jackson.  Many of the comments from the survey focused on the change from “may” to “shall” for reporting uncertainty, sampling, and analytical techniques.  There was discussion regarding the basis for these comments and acceptable reasoning for omission of reporting these elements.  The Editorial sub-committee was tasked to incorporate a statement that would address the omission of reporting the elements listed in Section 9.2.  Ms. Jackson suggested the Editorial sub-committee compare Part IV A Section 9.2 with ISO 17025 for consistency.


Reporting Sub-committee/Collection of Laboratory Reporting Examples


Robert Powers made a proposal to include reporting examples on the SWGDRUG website.  He suggested including a wide range of reporting examples, which would provide multiple alternatives for meeting the SWGDRUG reporting recommendations. There was discussion on including disclaimers and standardized acceptable/unacceptable terms. 


SWGDRUG Feedback Mechanism / Beta Test Results


Linda Jackson provided details of the beta test results of the SWGDRUG mechanism for feedback.  It was decided the Editorial sub-committee would review the questions and answers for the final format.  A preamble will be included to detail the estimated length of time it would take to provide feedback.  There was concern that people will need time to review the questions before providing answers.  The Editorial sub-committee will look into providing a separate list of the questions for a preliminary review on the SWGDRUG website.  In addition, the sub-committee will look into including a periodic save feature for when individuals are providing feedback. 


Uncertainty Sub-committee Update / Direction


Dr. Suzanne Bell provided a status update on the Supplemental Document (SD-3): Examples of Measurement Uncertainty for Weight Determinations.  Furthermore, Dr. Bell gave a brief review of the comments received from professional statisticians in regards to SD-3.  The Uncertainty sub-committee was tasked with finalizing the updates to SD-3 and including a statement referencing that comments from professional statisticians were incorporated.  Dr. Bell stated that the quantitative examples for uncertainty are close to their final form.  Scott Oulton reiterated that SWGDRUG is taking the more conservative approach in its recommendations in calculating uncertainty. 


SWGDRUG MS Library Update / Direction


Scott Oulton discussed the issues encountered while putting together an executable installation program for the SWGDRUG mass spectral (MS) library.  It has taken close to six months and although many of the issues have been fixed, it still did not work on some MS systems.  As such, Mr. Oulton proposed to post a compressed version of the MS library in both NIST and Agilent format with instructions on how to decompress the file and load it onto the MS systems. The core members decided in favor of posting the MS library. 


Linda Jackson provided details of a grant-funded RTI International project which has  created a spectra library database for the forensic drug community.  She also explained that although this project was ongoing, the SWGDRUG MS library was different enough and would still provide benefit to the forensic science community.


Education and Training Sub-committee Update / Direction


Richard Paulas gave a synopsis of the developments leading up to the latest version of the Education and Training outline.  SWGDRUG has been coordinating closely with ENFSI to incorporate suggested changes and revisions to the outline.  Scott Oulton reiterated that the training outline should serve as a guide of what should be included in a forensic chemistry training program.  A detailed discussion ensued regarding the necessary background and knowledge that a trainee needs prior to entering a training program.  The inclusion of training prerequisites was suggested.  The Education and Training sub-committee was tasked with including a preamble in the training document.


ENFSI Update / Quantitative Sampling


Michael Bovens communicated to the core committee that ENFSI was able to incorporate the recommendations from SWGDRUG into their proposed training manual.  Mr. Bovens showed how each section includes a list of recommended training topics with corresponding references.  He highlighted the finalized sections and the sections that are still in development. 


In addition, Mr. Bovens briefly gave an update of the draft ENFSI guidelines for quantitative sampling, which he had presented at the past SWGDRUG meeting.


Cooperation with CLIC Update / Status


Chris Matchett informed the committee that CLIC has completed their work on the Recommendations for Analysis of Clan Lab Evidence document.  Furthermore, Mr. Matchett stated that the Clan Lab Analysis document is ready for a review by SWGDRUG.  Several members presented recommendations for various sections of the Clan Lab Analysis document.  The Analysis section garnered the most suggestions from the core members.  Mr. Oulton formed a sub-committee to address the recommendations on the Clan Lab Analysis document.


ASTM Update


Scott Oulton and Jack Mario reported that the recommendations for Education and Training, General Quality Assurance and Methods of Analysis, which had been adopted as ASTM standards, are in the process of review.  Mr. Oulton discussed the recent revisions which have been adopted by ASTM and proposed that the adopted language be reviewed for incorporation into the SWGDRUG Recommendations.  He tasked the Editorial sub-committee to review the changes.



SWGDRUG Proposals:


            MJ Analysis Recommendations


Scott Oulton discussed that he has received many inquiries requesting clarification of the requirements of microscopic and macroscopic examinations of marijuana.  A detailed discussion ensued on what constitutes a macroscopic identification and if it is necessary to include a list of acceptance criteria as part of the SWGDRUG Recommendations.  The editorial sub-committee was tasked to include language in Part IIIB directing the laboratory to define acceptance criteria in reference to what constitutes a macroscopic examination.


            SWGDRUG poster


Sandra Rodriguez-Cruz suggested developing a poster presentation that summarizes the latest SWGDRUG updates.  This presentation will be updated after committee meetings and will be available on the SWGDRUG website for all committee members. Core committee members were in favor of this poster presentation proposal.


Mr. Oulton briefed each sub-committee chair on the goals for their respective sub-committees.  Core members broke into their respective sub-committees.


The sub-committees consisted of the following members:


Uncertainty –Bell (chair), Rodriguez-Cruz, Matchett, Burns, Zerell, Mario, Phinney (guest), Yap Tiong Whei (guest)

Education/Training –Paulas (chair), Person (guest), Vajdos, Bovens, Quinn, Glassburg, Massetti, Hopenwasser (guest)

Editorial/Communications/Reporting –Jackson (chair), Oulton, Ballou, Powers, Waninger, Reynolds (guest)

Clan Lab Analysis –Oulton, Person (guest), Matchett, Quinn, Hopenwasser (guest)





Eric Person provided an update on the sub-committee revisions of the Clan Lab Analysis document.  Dr. Person detailed issues with the Categories of Analytical Techniques which could potentially lead to their misuse.  Thus, he proposed a simplified alternative to the Categories of Analytical Techniques for Inorganic and Reagent/Chemical Analysis Table.  The proposal would group these techniques into the following: elemental analysis, chemical bonding, separation techniques, chemical properties, or physical properties.  The core members decided in favor for this new version of the analysis section.  The Clandestine Lab sub-committee was tasked to incorporate the above analysis techniques alternative and continue refining the rest of the Clandestine Lab Analysis document.


Qualitative Uncertainty


Garth Glassburg informed the core members of an outside research project investigating the potential for uncertainty, in regards to qualitative identification of compounds.  Core members decided to hold off any further discussion until additional details of the research are released to the public.


Core members broke into their respective sub-committees for the remainder of the day.


At the end of the day, Chris Matchett distributed updated copies of the revised Clan Lab Analysis document for review by the core members.


Mr. Oulton briefly updated the core members on the progress of all four sub-committees and outlined the schedule for Thursday.





Education and Training Sub-committee Report


Richard Paulus updated the core members on the Education and Training sub-committee’s progress on the training outline document.   He reiterated that ENFSI incorporated all of SWGDRUG’s recommendations into their own training outline.  The sub-committee particularly focused on the recommended changes to the steroid section of the ENFSI training outline.  Eric Person suggested citing more primary resources (i.e. journal articles) into each section of the document.  Mr. Paulas proposed a completion date of May 2011.  The core members discussed the content of a preamble to the SWGDRUG Training Outline which would be available on the webpage.


Garth Glassburg made a motion to create a tab on the SWGDRUG website for future access to the Training Outline document.  Linda Jackson seconded the motion.    The vote was unanimously in favor of the motion. 


Dr. Person outlined a proposal to do a trial run on a password protected WikiPage to briefly overview each section of the training outline document.  The core members were in favor of this suggestion and will evaluate the progress of the trial run at the next SWGDRUG meeting.


Editorial / Communications/ Reporting Sub-committee Report


Linda Jackson presented the changes proposed by the subcommittee to be incorporated into the next revision of the SWGDRUG Recommendations.  These changes were based on comments from the forensic community, the ASTM review process and the review of requirements for Cannabis testing.  The sections addressed include, but are not limited to, the wording in Part IV A section 9.2, Part IIIA section 6, and Part III B section 1.   The core members deliberated on the sub-committee’s changes and made further modifications to these sections. 


Richard Paulas made a motion to accept the editorial changes made by the editorial sub-committee and be incorporated as edition 5.1 of SWGDRUG recommendations. The motion was seconded by Scott Vajdos.  The motioned passed by a unanimous vote.



Core members broke into separate sub-committees to address final revisions to the SD-3 document and the Analysis of Clandestine Drug Laboratory Evidence document.


Uncertainty Sub-committee Report


Suzanne Bell provided details of the sub-committee’s revisions to SD-3.  For instance, the scenarios within SD-3 were expanded upon and clarified to provide more understanding on how uncertainty values are obtained.  Furthermore, the sub-committee adopted changes to SD-3 based on recommendations previously provided by professional statisticians.


Jack Mario made a motion to send SD-3 out for public comment for not less than 60 days, pending editorial review.  Richard Paulas seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a unanimous vote.



Linda Jackson made a motion to post the mechanism for feedback on the SWGDRUG website until June 30, 2011. Garth Glassburg seconded the motion. The motion passed by a unanimous vote. 



Clandestine Laboratory Evidence Analysis Document


Christian Matchett presented the revised draft of the Clandestine Laboratory Evidence Analysis document.  The core members discussed the document and made further revisions.


Jerry Massetti made a motion to send the Clandestine Lab Evidence Analysis document out for public comment for not less than 60 days pending editorial review. Catherine Quinn seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a unanimous vote.


Suzanne Bell presented and discussed a weighing uncertainty study by her undergraduate students at West Virginia University.


Next SWGDRUG Meeting / Closeout


Mr. Oulton thanked everyone for their hard work and expressed that this was one of the most productive meetings SWGDRUG has ever had.  He proposed the next meeting to take place July 4-8, 2011.  The tentative meeting location is Boston.  In addition, he proposed for the Uncertainty sub-committee members to come a day early at the next meeting to finish their editorial comments.


Mr. Oulton closed the meeting and thanked all members and guests for their effort.




Meeting minutes respectfully submitted by Jay Hopenwasser on February 8, 2011.