The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) is a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) program that systematically collects drug chemistry analysis results, as well as other related information, from cases analyzed by state, local and federal forensic laboratories. These laboratories analyze substances secured in law enforcement operations across the country. NFLIS offers a valuable resource for monitoring illegal drug abuse and trafficking, including the diversion of legally manufactured pharmaceutical drugs into illegal markets. NFLIS data are used to support drug regulatory and scheduling efforts as well as to inform drug policy and drug enforcement initiatives both nationally and in local communities.
Since its inception in September 1997, NFLIS has become an operational information system that includes data from forensic laboratories that conduct analyses of about 97% of the nation's approximate 1.5 million annual drug cases. As of April 2017, state and local forensic laboratory systems representing a total of 277 (106 local and 171 state) individual labs were participating in NFLIS. Of these, 269 individual laboratories (99 local and 170 state) were regularly reporting data to NFLIS; the remaining participating labs are in the process of initiating data reporting. DEA continues to recruit state and local forensic laboratories that conduct drug chemistry analyses with a goal of 100% participation and reporting.
NFLIS Program Expansion
Over the next few years, the NFLIS program will expand to include two additional continuous drug surveillance programs that collect drug-related mortality data from medical examiner and coroner offices (ME/Cs) and drug testing results from toxicology laboratories to supplement and complement the current information from drug cases submitted to and analyzed by the Nation’s forensic laboratories.
Over the next several months, DEA will be conducting the NFLIS Medical Examiner/Coroner Office Survey and the NFLIS Toxicology Laboratory Survey. The information gathered during these two surveys will inform the data surveillance system that will be launched in 2018. Results from these two surveys will be released via a report that provides aggregated statistics, as DEA has done with the NFLIS Survey of Crime Laboratory Drug Chemistry Sections (e.g., see the 2013 report).