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 opioid detection and characterization, or "opioids 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 opioid response alongside partners in medicine and epidemiology.

APHL Opioids Biosurveillance Resources

Toolkits & Guidance Documents



Opioids Biosurveillance Task Force

Members of the OBTF gather at APHL 

In recognition of the role public health laboratories play in tackling the opioid epidemic, APHL established an Opioids Biosuveillance Task Force (OBTF). Chaired by Ewa King, PhD and 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​, providing input into the development of fentanyl safety resources, and assessing the potential role of public health laboratories in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. 

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 eh@aphl.org with "Opioid CoP" in the subject line.​

Contact Us​​​

For more information about​ the APHL Opioids Biosurveillance program, contact Nicholas Ancona, MPH, specialist, Opioids Biosurveillance at 240-485-3849 or nicholas.ancona@aphl.org​.​​​​