Rapid translation of forensic data from police drug seizures into clinical alerts to improve public health

Illegal drug markets lack the quality control features of regulated product markets. For example, new psychoactive drugs often emerge and existing drug types frequently change strength or form.

Optimal clinical responses to acute drug-related events should be tailored based on emerging information about these changing markets. Victoria Police Forensic Services are already resourced to locally monitor changes in drug markets through forensic analysis of all police seizures across the full spectrum of illegal drugs.

These data are currently regularly shared within police networks and with researchers (e.g. lagged time-trend analysis). However, they have not yet been shared rapidly with clinicians.

In order to maximise public-health value from Victoria Police Forensic Drug Intelligence Capability program, we will co-design, implement and evaluate the impact of rapid forensic intelligence alerts on clinical practice among frontline AOD workers and clinical resource managers.

The project will co-design the clinical alert (phase 1), then implementation of those alerts over 12 months (phase 2) with simultaneous ongoing evaluation (phase 3) of usability, feasibility and impact of alerts. The anticipated benefits are improvements in clinical responses and ease of resource management in response to acute drug-related medical events.