State Department and Denver Medical Examiner Signs MOU to Combat Synthetic Drugs Overseas

by Ethan Roberts
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Journal Press: An unprecedented Memorandum of Understanding between the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner and the Department of State could change the landscape of the battle against synthetic drugs across the globe.

The Dawn of a New Alliance

Denver, Colorado – The international community has long grappled with the devastating impact of synthetic drugs. On January 20th, 2022, a historic partnership was formed that promises to bolster global efforts to combat this menace. The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner entered into a State and Local Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), a part of the Department of State. This MOU establishes a groundbreaking alliance for training, advising, and mentoring criminal justice personnel globally.

Why Synthetic Drugs are a Global Emergency

The Staggering Statistics

Synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, have wreaked havoc on global health, safety, and security. According to a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, were responsible for nearly 50% of all opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States in 2020. This disturbing trend is not just limited to the United States but is a global phenomenon that necessitates an international response.

Fentanyl – A Lethal Threat

Fentanyl, in particular, has emerged as an especially dangerous synthetic drug. The potency and widespread availability of fentanyl have contributed to a significant rise in overdose deaths. Its devastating impact on communities necessitates that steps be taken to detect and combat the proliferation of this and other synthetic drugs.

A Closer Look at the MOU

Expanding Anti-Drug Initiatives

The MOU outlines the framework for cooperation between the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner and the INL to work hand-in-hand in training and mentoring foreign personnel in investigating and prosecuting synthetic drug-related crimes. It aims at not only bringing the culprits to justice but also improving laboratory detection capabilities.

Spreading Awareness and Prevention

Besides enforcement, the MOU also encompasses the designing and implementation of anti-drug public awareness campaigns. It supports the development of drug abuse prevention programs in partner countries, which are essential in curbing the demand for these drugs.

Leveraging Denver’s Expertise

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner is renowned internationally for its forensic science services including toxicology, anthropology, and pathology. Through this MOU, the INL aims to harness Denver’s expertise in forensic toxicology and autopsy services. Dr. James Caruso, Chief Medical Examiner for the City and County of Denver, lauded the agreement, stating that Denver looks forward to assisting international partners in all aspects of forensic medicine and toxicology.

Furthermore, Denver Mayor Hancock expressed pride in the city’s contributions to global anti-drug efforts through this partnership.

The Bigger Picture: Making the World Safer

This collaboration is expected to have far-reaching effects on international anti-drug efforts. Through training, awareness campaigns, and support in investigations and prosecutions, the partnership aims to make tangible strides in reducing synthetic drug trafficking and abuse worldwide. By harnessing the expertise and experience of the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner, it seeks to equip international partners with the tools necessary to combat synthetic drugs effectively.

H3: Reaching Out for More Information

For those who seek additional information or wish to contribute to the fight against synthetic drugs, INL encourages outreach via email at or by following them on Twitter at @StateINL.

In conclusion, the MOU between the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner and the Department of State signifies a monumental step in the ongoing struggle against synthetic drugs. Through this partnership, there is renewed hope for a safer world, free from the scourge of synthetic drugs. The commitment demonstrated by Denver sets a shining example for cities and countries around the globe.

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