Opioid tablets. Photo via Wikimeda Commons

The San Diego-based nuclear magnetic and quadripole resonance technology manufacturing company One Resonance Sensors LLC will receive $250,000 in federal funding for its opioid detection technology, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Friday.

The company finished runner-up in the Opioid Detection Challenge, a collaborative global competition administered by DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate, Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to improve opioid detection technology and tools for international mail.

One Resonance Sensors finished second for its “QROD system,” which uses radio waves to search for materials like opioids in packages. The company also received $100,000 earlier this year after being named one of the competition’s eight finalists, who each participated in a 14-week technology accelerator program to develop a testable prototype of their tools.

“The influx of illicit drugs is one of the nation’s greatest threats,” senior DHS official William Bryan said. “Through this combined effort to address the trafficking of opioids, S&T, our federal partners and the private sector have produced technology solutions that will better protect the American people from the effects of this devastating crisis.”

New York-based security technology company Integrated Defense and Security Solutions was named the winner of the competition for its three- dimensional X-ray scanning systems. IDSS will receive $500,000 for wining the competition.

According to federal officials, CBP agents seized roughly 2,600 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in fiscal year 2019, well above the 1,895 pounds seized in FY 2018. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

“This is an alarming 35% increase over the course of one year and international mail has been one of the places that we are seeing illicit opioids come into the United States,” Deputy CBP Commissioner Robert Perez said. “Emerging technologies that can help us stop the flow of opioids across our borders are critical to the fight against the opioid epidemic.”

A panel of experts in the fields of forensic science, mail operations, drug prohibition and industrial engineering chose winners in the competition on their technology’s accuracy, speed, reliability, scalability, usability and adaptability, according to DHS. Information on future Science and Technology Directorate competitions can be found at dhs.gov/science-and-technology/Challenge-Updates.

— City News Service

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