UNODC: first replication of training on handheld electronic field testing devices for drug identification held in West Africa

Under the framework of the projects CRIMJUST and “Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria”, UNODC conducted, on 12 July 2018, the first replication workshop on “Drug identification with handheld electronic field testing devices” in Lagos, Nigeria. It was the first training in West Africa to introduce the use of the testing devices, a Raman spectrometer, which, with new advanced technology, enhances capacities to detect and identify harmful substances.

The workshop was delivered to more than 30 participants from law enforcement, customs, and national forensic laboratories in Nigeria.

The agenda of the training course was composed of practical exercises (hands-on) and a comprehensive overview of methodologies and techniques for accurate analysis of drug samples. Subsequently, the participants, under the guidance and instructions of the experts, conducted preliminary screening tests and analysis of the samples.

Overall, the training addressed a growing demand by West African countries, which are key transit hubs for drug trafficking, to strengthen their pools of forensic laboratory experts and to increase the use of forensic evidence in drug related criminal investigations. Moreover, it enhanced the capacity of participants to effectively identify a wide range of controlled substances, as well as new synthetic substances.