The media has talked extensively about the “opioid crisis” and the “war on drugs”. But there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of focus on officer safety in the battle.
And there’s also been precious little talk about better equipping law enforcement to deal with that exploding war.
Just last week, President Trump spoke at a conference of health professionals and addiction specialists and vowed to “smash the grip of addiction” caused by the opioid epidemic. In his speech, he touched on bringing tougher interdiction of drugs at the border with Mexico.
“We will never stop until our job is done, and then maybe we’ll have to find something new,” he said. “And I hope that’s going to be soon, but we will succeed.”
There are a number of leading authorities on the opioid crisis who have been highly critical of the federal government’s response, calling it far too slow and inadequately funded, starting with the Obama administration. But they say there’s been improvement under President Trump.
Andrew Kolodny is a physician and a director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. He said the president deserves credit for focusing on the problem, and for delivering more funding than President Barack Obama did.
Over the past 20 years, overdoses caused by prescription opioids have claimed more than 200,000 lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In October 2017, the president declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency… and within one year, the Trump administration says they raised $6 billion in new funding to address it.
Where the federal government has fallen short, private companies are stepping in. Not only are they helping in the battle against opioids, but they’re doing it while being cognizant of officer safety and budgetary restrictions.
They have been rolling out innovative new smart phone drug testing applications in conjunction with police departments across America and are basically replacing old fashioned NIK/NARK/ODV type kits.
They recognized the need to equip officers with better technology that’s not only already budgeted for – but that’s also safer for them.
A few years back, they rolled out the MobileDetect product. It works with the free MobileDetect app. Unlike legacy test kits, it works on trace residue – meaning no exposure to the LEO. Results are automated, so there’s no color change interpretation needed. And there’s also no chance that the officer’s fingers are going to be punctured by glass.
Their highly popular MDT test kit product detects fentanyl, heroin, opiates, cocaine, meth and MDMA/ecstasy all in one test, it meets NIJ standards for presumptive drug testing, and there’s no expiration date.
On top of that, it creates an automated PDF report with the result, color reaction, evidence pictures, notes, GPS coordinates and more that can be sent via email and text. It’s also priced about the same as legacy kits.
(Above: A look at how DectectaChem works.)
Greg Giuntini is the Director of Market Development at DetectaChem. He partnered the company with Government Training Institute (GTI) recently to help police departments trade their existing old fashioned kits – or other unused assets – for this new and proven next-gen technology at no cost to the department.
“The GTI Asset Trading Program is a big win for law enforcement agencies around the country. It provides departments the ability to trade in their old -fashioned test kits for our safer, more reliable MobileDetect drug testing pouches at no additional cost to them,” he said.
Historically, if a department were to sell any unused assets – whether they be kits like this, ammo, cars, etc., the money made from the sale would traditionally go back into the city. With GTI, the money goes into an account of sorts that stays with the department and lets them get new equipment.
“Many departments have a significant back stock of older field test kits. This program allows departments to trade in these stock piles, many of which may be expired, and upgrade to newer, safer and more reliable test kits like the MobileDetect pouches.”
GTI was founded in 2003 to address needs of state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States with research-based training. GTI’s multiple courses contain a cooperative curriculum base and ongoing research from a staff with extensive operational military and law enforcement experience.
The ATP program allows departments to utilize their forfeited-seized assets or surplus law enforcement equipment to provide funds for everything from DHS-approved SWAT or active-shooter response training courses, to new equipment… to recruitment materials.
“Because agency funding has been so restricted in recent years, the Asset Trading Program quickly became a popular if not the only option for some agencies to purchase new equipment, training and services. This program is changing the way our industry makes purchases,” said Brian Naillon, the Vice President of GTI.
The agency gets the benefit of the asset sale, which means that no funds from the trade end up in the jurisdiction “general” fund (unless desired).
Those funds can then be used through any of the ATP vendors without the hassle of having to deal with your local city or town, tap into already strained budgets or get approval of funds.
“It’s a fantastic program because agencies don’t even need to find additional funding to get the latest and greatest tech. They work through GTI’s Asset Trading Program, send in their old or unused equipment or test kits, and get new products at no cost,” said Giuntini.
(Above – our team at LET spent several days at Government Training Institute to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate.)
He said there’s only one thing needed – a little time and effort.
“Every day we have agencies that approach us and want to transition over to MobileDetect, but they are limited either by budget or they need to use up a significant supply of their current older test kits. This program is fantastic as it eliminates and solves both of these issues and enables agencies to adopt our products quickly and easily.”