SWGDRUG Meeting Minutes

Tampa, FL

January 8-10, 2013


Core Committee Members (present):

Scott R. Oulton, Chair, Drug Enforcement Administration

Sandra E. Rodriguez-Cruz, Secretariat, Drug Enforcement Administration

Suzanne Bell, West Virginia University

Michael Bovens, European Network of Forensic Science Institutes

Sylvia Burns, Key Forensic Services, LTD, England

Conor Crean, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Garth Glassburg, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors

Linda Jackson, Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists

Richard Laing, Health Canada

Adriano Maldaner, Iberoamerican Academy of Criminalistics and Forensic Studies

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


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


Christian Matchett, Southern Association of Forensic Scientists

Richard Paulas, Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Eric Person, California State University, Fresno

Karen Phinney, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Robert Powers, Connecticut Department of Public Safety

Catherine Quinn, Victoria Forensic Science Centre, Australia

Pamela Reynolds, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Scott Vajdos, Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Angeline Yap Tiong Yap, Asian Forensic Sciences Network

Udo Zerell, Bundeskriminalamt, Germany



Bruce Goldberger, SWGTOX Executive Committee Member

Jill Head, Note Taker, Drug Enforcement Administration




Welcome & Review of Conference Agenda

SWGDRUG chair Scott Oulton opened the meeting by welcoming the committee members.  Mr. Oulton announced that two committee members, Jack Mario and Jerry Massetti, are retiring.  Jerry Massetti was a founding member of SWGDRUG.  Mr. Oulton also congratulated Sylvia Burns on her recent employment with Key Forensic Services, LTD and Linda Jackson on her recent promotion to the head of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Mr. Oulton also announced that he is trying to organize a 20-year SWGDRUG reunion.


            Mr. Oulton introduced invited guests Bruce Goldberger (SWGTOX Executive      Committee Member) and Jill Head (note taker) and thanked Sandra Rodriguez-Cruz for         putting together the meeting.


            SWGDRUG Bylaws Revisions

Mr. Oulton discussed the SWGDRUG by-laws and the revision made to include the creation of a vice-chair position.  Eric Person made a motion to approve the by-laws.  Christian Matchett seconded the motion.  The by-laws were discussed by the committee and were then amended to clarify that the vice chair will be appointed from the membership and will continue to have a vote.  Eric Person made a motion to approve the amended by-laws.  Christian Matchett seconded the motion.  All present committee members unanimously voted to approve the motion. 


            SWGDRUG Website Update

Mr. Oulton stated that the SWGDRUG website is getting over 4000 hits per month and that the drug monographs section posted on the website is growing as new monographs are completed.  Each monograph will be updated to include its author.  The DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory is the author of the drug monographs posted as of this date.  He discussed a meeting he attended with several organizations, including RTI and Cerilliant, to discuss the use and availability of reference materials.  Other websites are also posting drug monographs, including Forendex who has partnered with Cayman Chemical and Agilent Technologies.  Mr. Oulton stated that the SWGDRUG monographs can be used as a reference in drug analysis, but the mass spectral library should not.  Dr. Person suggested ways to check frequently used search terms, including Google Analytics, to select the best name to list the drug monographs.  Mr. Oulton then discussed with the committee that there has not been any activity on the discussion forum section of the website.  There was a discussion regarding the need for the forum since the CLIC list and Forendex forums are currently fulfilling that need of the community.  The committee agreed to remove the forum from the website.


            SWGTOX Update

            Dr. Bruce Goldberger, SWGTOX Executive Committee Member and President of ABFT,            gave a presentation on SWGTOX including its history, mission, and objectives.   The        primary focus of SWGTOX activities concern toxicological matters including post-         mortem, human performance drugs, and criminal investigations.  Dr. Goldberger                       discussed other current activities and documents including QA/QM of standards,                    education and training, competency and certification standards, method validation,             measurement traceability and uncertainty, and MS Identification criteria.


SWGDRUG SD-4 – Comments from Public

Dr. Suzanne Bell updated the committee on SD-4.  Each comment submitted by the public was reviewed and addressed by the subcommittee.  Changes were incorporated into the document based on the submitted comments.  The responses and actions were presented to the committee.  All of the submitted comments and the SWGDRUG Response/Action will be posted on the website. 


SWGDRUG Survey Update

Dr. Suzanne Bell informed the committee that a student at West Virginia University built a survey website and it is being reviewed prior to publication.  The website should be up within a week.


NMS Meeting Update

Jack Mario attended the Advisory Committee for the Evaluation of Controlled Substance Analogues and provided an update.  The mission of the committee is to recommend the minimum standards for the evaluation of non-controlled substances being considered as controlled substance analogues.  Their objective is to establish definitions and scientific methods of analysis.  The committee was started by National Medical Services (NMS) and includes subcommittees addressing physiochemical properties, computational chemistry and cheminformatics, literature support, synthetic pathways, and pharmacology/toxicology.  The group is working to set definitions of analogues since federal and state language varies.  Many other countries do not have this problem due to wording in their legislation.


Mr. Oulton stated that he will look into getting DEA’s Office of Diversion analogue monographs to use as examples of determining structural similarity of potential analogues which could be included with federal case law to put in a supplemental document. 


Reference Materials Sub-committee Update

An update was provided by Dr. Sylvia Burns on the final document changes that went to the subcommittee for review.  The document will be ready to be reviewed by the committee by the end of the week prior to posting for public comment. 


Education and Training Sub-committee Update/Direction

Richard Paulas stated that the training questions were developed without answers to allow for policy differences across laboratories and for chemists/trainers to determine their own answers.  The document will be ready for public comment by the end of the week.  They will be specifically looking for input on the format in which it would be most useful.



Dr. Michael Bovens discussed sampling software that performs calculations using hypergeometric (most used), Bayesian, and binomial sampling plans.  After feedback that was received on the calculations, the software was updated and reevaluated.  Dr. Bovens thanked Dr. Angeline Yap Tiong Yap and her associate for their input and assistance.  The ENFSI calculator has been posted on their website.


ASTM Update

Scott Oulton addressed all comments and negatives received in reference to the proposed ASTM document.  Document E2882-12 is now posted on the ASTM website.



Analogues Sub-committee Update/Direction

Chris Matchett provided an update on a document addressing analogues.  The committee is being up front within the document regarding the subjective nature of analogue determination.  Mr. Matchett discussed with the committee the role of the analyst in an analogue case.  There was much discussion regarding what constitutes structural similarity and how it differs from pharmacological activity.  It should be made clear in the final document that structural similarity does not constitute pharmacological activity. 


AFSN Update

An update on the Asian Forensic Sciences Network was given by Dr. Angeline Yap Tiong Yap.  Dr. Yap described the history of its development as well as its goals.  It was created in October 2008 to provide a forum for discussion, to enhance the quality of forensic services, and to establish links with other networks.  Membership and attendance has grown rapidly and as of November 2012, there were 32 member institutes and 392 attendees.  AFSN is planning an attachment program for the analysis of new designer drugs.  Dr. Yap also discussed the challenges facing AFSN.


Proposal for SWG Oversight Body

Scott Oulton discussed the potential of a SWG oversight body being created at the last SWG chairs meeting.  It is expected that news regarding the creation of this oversight body should be out soon.  One of the outcomes of the meeting was to establish a chair position for all SWGs so that they could begin working towards standardization among the SWGs (e.g., bylaws, document creation, etc.).  Maureen Bottrell from FBI was elected as the chair.


Relative Index Project Update

Scott Vajdos updated the committee on the project and discussed the paper that was written to inform the community of its use as a tool for identification.  The three laboratories that contributed to the project are the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, the Health Sciences Authority in Singapore, and the DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory.  The subcommittee believes that relative index is a useful tool for designer drug identification, but will recommend that the laboratories create their own relative index library to minimize error.  Dr. Person clarified that linear retention index values are generated from methods containing a temperature ramp whereas Kovat retention index values must be generated from isothermal methods.  There is other research on this topic being conducted at West Virginia University that will be submitted for future publication. 




The committee provided Mr. Oulton with their recommendations for the Vice Chair position from a list of those that were interested. 


Sub-committee Break Out

The core committee members broke out into their respective sub-committees most of the day.


Dr. Bell gave a brief update on edits made to SD-4.  Mr. Oulton indicated that extrapolation of weights should be the next direction for the subcommittee because of interest in the forensic community. 


Reference Material Update

Dr. Sylvia Burns led a thorough review of the reference material document with the committee.  This included a discussion on the existence of Certified Reference Materials in drug analysis.  


Analogue Subcommittee Update

Chris Matchett provided an update following the breakout session.  A document was written to provide general guidance on reporting conclusions and opinions, including those regarding analogues.  Mr. Matchett presented a draft to the committee.  The document will address how an analyst should document evaluations of structural similarity and how to report those conclusions.  The document will recommend that all reported conclusions be accompanied by qualifications and limitations.  The committee agreed with the direction of the document. 


SWGDRUG Committee Update

Scott Oulton congratulated and welcomed Linda Jackson as the Vice Chair of SWGDRUG after consideration and input from the committee.  He also discussed the way in which SWGDRUG will recruit for vacancies.  Two members will be replaced as a result of retirements.  Vacancies will be posted on the SWGDRUG website along with the qualifications and desired attributes of candidates.  Candidates should submit a CV and acknowledgement from their agency stating they support the person’s participation.  Recommendations and nominations will also be considered.






Linda Jackson made a motion to publish SD-4 as an approved supplemental document after editorial review.  Jack Mario seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved by the committee.


Reference Materials Sub-committee Report

Dr. Sylvia Burns discussed revisions made to the document since the last update with the committee.  The document was incorporated into the main document.  The committee reviewed other changes made to the document over the last couple of meetings. 


The committee discussed Section IIIB.2 regarding the characterization of analytical techniques (A, B, and C) and which techniques are considered correlated and uncorrelated.  The committee discussed the possible need of a new supplemental document addressing the correlation of techniques and the categorization of new instrumental techniques that have become available since this section of the document was written.  The committee members should discuss the topics of discriminatory power and correlation of analytical techniques with their organizations and return in July prepared to discuss this section. 


Chris Matchett made a motion to submit the revised section for public comment.  Dr. Eric Person seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved by the committee.


Analogues Sub-committee Report

An update was given by Chris Matchett regarding the analogue document which contained recommendations for reporting opinions and conclusions.  Dr. Burns suggested making a new section in the main document regarding Opinion Evidence.  The main document will eventually be reorganized to move the Reporting Section out of QA and into Section III.  The analogue document will be included in the Reporting Section and a new section will be added to address opinion based reports.  The Analogue Subcommittee is tasked with writing the opinion/reporting sections.   


Conor Crean stated that the UN meeting in March will present legislation from all over the world regarding analogue law.  This information may be helpful in drafting the SWGDRUG analogue document.


Education and Training Sub-committee Report

Richard Paulas proposed an introduction to the training question resources.  The committee discussed the SWGDRUG forum again as a way for chemists to discuss the training questions, but the decision to remove it was upheld. 


Mr. Oulton will look into tracking the usage of documents by users around the world to get information on which SWGDRUG documents are accessed as well as where and how frequently they are accessed.


The training questions will be added to the Resources section of the website under Training.  The questions will not be sent out for public comment since it is a living document for which the public can submit questions for consideration and make recommendations.  The ranking columns will be removed prior to publishing.  Dr. Eric Person made a motion to create and post a section on the website for the list of questions to be used as a resource in the development of a training program.  Pamela Reynolds seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved by the committee.


SWGDRUG Drug Monographs

Chris Matchett made a motion to approve and continue to publish drug monographs in the Resource section of the website.  Linda Jackson seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved by the committee.


Mr. Oulton will discuss a possible collaboration with Forendex (SAFS) regarding contribution of data and monographs on the website.  He also reminded the committee that members should share the changes to the website, including the monographs, with their organizations.

Subcommittee Updates


Update on Analogue Document

Chris Matchett updated the committee on the analogue document after the sub-committee breakout session.  The document includes recommendations regarding analogues, structural similarity, structural class determinations, and reporting.  The document will go out separately from revisions to the main document, but the exact placement will be decided at a later date.


There was an extensive discussion on structural similarity and what it means.  Dr. Eric Person made a motion to send the document out for public comment after editorial revisions.  Richard Paulas seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved by the remaining committee members (Chris Matchett had to depart early).  The document will be sent to the committee for final review after editorial changes prior to publishing it to the website. 


“Uncorrelated Technique” Subcommittee

Karen Phinney will chair the new subcommittee.  The subcommittee will provide information into the main document in developing an analytical scheme when the A, B, C categories do not meet the analyst’s needs.  Several committee members expressed interest in working on this subcommittee including Pamela Reynolds, Sylvia Burns, Angeline Yap Tiong Yap, Garth Glassburg, and Richard Laing.


“Opinions and Interpretations” Subcommittee

The official creation of new subcommittee has been postponed but will most likely consist of members from the Analogue Subcommittee.


Next SWGDRUG Meeting/Closeout

Scott Oulton thanked the committee for their hard work and for accomplishing so much during the week.  Mr. Oulton thanked Linda Jackson, the new Vice Chair, and Jill Head, the note taker.  He also congratulated Jack Mario and Jerry Massetti on their retirement and thanked them for their contribution to SWGDRUG. 


The next SWGDRUG meeting is tentatively scheduled for the week of July 8-12, 2013. 



Minutes respectfully submitted by Jill Head.