SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today joined officials from Clark County and the city of Springfield to unveil a new Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) crime laboratory.
Scientists working at the new laboratory, located in the Springfield/Clark County Public Safety Building, will focus exclusively on drug testing. Scientists will test drugs submitted from local law enforcement agencies in Clark County as well as drug evidence submitted from elsewhere in the state.
Local officials approached the Attorney General’s Office with a proposal to turn their local crime laboratory into a BCI crime laboratory in 2015, after the retirement of their scientist. After an agreement was entered into in 2016, Clark County and the city of Springfield remodeled their old crime laboratory and purchased new, state-of-the-art chemistry instruments for drug testing. Springfield is also funding the salary of one scientist.
The new laboratory will be staffed with two highly trained and experienced BCI drug chemistry scientists who will focus on testing all forms of drugs, including complex mixtures of opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil.
Statewide, BCI has Drug Chemistry Units at its three other crime laboratories located in London, Richfield, and Bowling Green. To help test the increasing number of complex opioid submissions, Attorney General DeWine also recently authorized the expansion of the Drug Chemistry Unit by an additional six new scientist positions. In 2016, BCI scientists statewide reported 5,768 cases involving heroin, 2,396 cases involving fentanyl, and 214 cases involving carfentanil.
Last year a record 3,050 Ohioans died from fatal drug overdoses, most of them heroin- or painkiller-related deaths.