Poppy Pods​Opioid abuse is a serious public health problem affecting many areas in the United States. Prescription opioids and synthetic fentanyls​ are responsible for thousands of fatal and non-fatal overdoses annually. Building upon advanced analytical capabilities acquired through other toxicology and clinical chemistry programs and knowledge of public health surveillance systems, environmental and public health laboratories are exploring how they might be able to contribute to the opioids response. ​

Opioids Biosurveillance Task Force

In recognition of the role public health laboratories play in tackling the opioid epidemic, APHL established an Opioids Biosurveillance Task Force, chaired by Ewa King, PhD. This multi-disciplinary group, comprised of APHL members and Partners, is working collaboratively to design a model opioid biosurveillance program for nonfatal opioid overdoses, develop technical safety and guidance for laboratories, and define and develop the roles of public health laboratories in the area of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Opioids Community of Practice​

​​APHL has established an Opioids Community of Practice, a space where government laboratories and their public health partners can meet to discuss issues, concerns, strategies and practices. It is also a place where invited guests with expertise in related areas can present to the group and answer questions. The Community of Practice will become whatever the group determines that it needs to be.

If you're interested in joining the Community of Practice and have not yet expressed interest, please send an email to eh@aphl.​org with "Opioids CoP" in the subject line.

APHL Resources

Toolkits & Guidance Documents

DEA Registration Checklist


Fentanyl Safety in Laboratory Settings
Recorded February 13, 2019


This video provides a brief overview of safety best practices public health laboratory scientists should consider when testing both clinical and product samples for the presence of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. Topics discussed include routes of exposure, safe disposal practices, and tips for managing exposure in the laboratory.

Additional information can be found in the Fentanyl Safety in Laboratory Settings webinar linked above. 

CDC Resources

Online Learning

Introduction to Epidemiology

Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

ToxTutor: NIH National Library of Medicine


Traceable Opioid Material Kits
CDC list of two kits that can help improve laboratory testing for emerging opioids, and how to procure them.​​