The advanced analytical toxicology and chemistry capabilities within public laboratories and their integrated health surveillance systems lay the foundation for the sampling and testing of human clinical specimens for drug detection and characterization, or "overdose biosurveillance." This laboratory data has the potential to enhance existing overdose epidemiological surveillance infrastructure at the state and local level. Public health laboratories are uniquely poised to make valuable contributions to the overdose response alongside partners in medicine and epidemiology.

APHL Overdose Biosurveillance Resources

Toolkits & Guidance Documents



Overdose Biosurveillance Task Force

In recognition of the role public health laboratories play in tackling the opioid epidemic, APHL established an Opioids Biosuveillance Task Force (OBTF), which is co-chaired by Amy Miles (Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene) and Jason Peterson (Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory). Charged by the APHL Board of Directors, the multidisciplinary OBTF provides subject matter expertise and input into the creation, dissemination and promotion of resources for public health laboratories developing biosurveillance testing programs. Past and current OBTF activities include outlining the APHL Model Opioids Biosurveillance Strategy for Public Health Practice​, developing Fundamentals of Fentanyl Safety in Public Health Laboratory Settings guidance and other fentanyl safety resources, and assessing the role of Laboratory Data in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Surveillance. Rebranded as the Overdose Biosurveillance Task Force in 2022 to match the evolving nature of the overdose epidemic, the current iteration of the OBTF's focus is polysubstance use within the context of overdose biosurveillance.

Opioid Community of Practice

The Opioid Community of Practice is an online message board and monthly teleconference focused on facilitating communication between government laboratories and their public health partners. The Community of Practice meets monthly (First Thursday of the month, 1:00-2:00 pm ET) to discuss issues, concerns, strategies and best practices. Subject matter experts present on a variety of topics of interest to the community.

Those interested in joining the Community of Practice should send an email to with "Opioid CoP" in the subject line.​

Contact Us​​​

Please direct any questions about the APHL Overdose Biosurveillance program to ​