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25 October 2018

Dr. Michael Frunzi, Product Manager, Optical Products for Smiths Detection, testified on technology’s role in interdicting opioids and other dangerous narcotics. At a hearing entitled “Stopping the Poison Pills: Combatting the Trafficking of Illegal Fentanyl from China”, Dr. Frunzi relayed to members of the U.S. Senate Caucus how advancements in technology can help protect the health and safety of the public, as well as methods to intercept the illegal passage of dangerous substances, such as illicit fentanyl.

“It is unlikely that the public health threat posed by the opioid epidemic will be ameliorated anytime soon. Only a combination of law enforcement, community outreach, political overtures and medical intervention will eventually solve this massive problem. In the meantime, fentanyl and the harm it can cause to users, responders and the general public will persist,” Dr. Frunzi said in his prepared remarks. He also stated, “Smiths Detection will continue to move technology forward to provide flexible, innovative solutions to these and other threats, to safeguard society, protect life and support the free flow of trade.”

Dr. Michael Frunzi is a senior scientist at Smiths Detection, where he has worked since 2011. He graduated from Saint Joseph’s University before earning his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Yale University. Dr. Frunzi did his post-doctoral work at the Turro Lab at Columbia University, where he conducted research using a range of optical techniques including fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and RAMAN spectroscopy.

Dr. Frunzi’s testimony highlighted three key recommendations to support the development and use of narcotics detection equipment to help combat the threat of imported opioids:

  1. Establish a Public/Private working group aimed to disrupt foreign opioid shipments into the U.S. and release recommendations in about 180 days.
  2. Support passage of S. 2763, “The Power Act,” with a clear appropriation line for the next five fiscal years to help fund portable chemical screening devices for law enforcement.
  3. Budgeting for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) and refresh of technology for future funds or grants that are awarded to state and local authorities.

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