Illicit Substance Use Response
Despite national efforts to reduce the impact, illicit substance abuse continues to rise in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there were an average of 128 opioid related deaths per day in 2018. These numbers continue to rise. In order to meet the challenge head on, scientists, community leaders, justice professionals, and everyday citizens are working tirelessly to slow the abuse of opioids and reduce the impact that they have on our communities. In this season of Just Science, we’re sitting down with experts in the field to discuss topics like stigma, recovery, policy solutions, public safety systems, identifying drug trends, and much more.
This season is in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program funding to respond to illicit substance use and misuse in order to reduce overdose deaths, promote public safety, and support access to services.
This season is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.
Just Forensic Genetic Genealogy and GEDmatch: Verogen’s Approach
In this Forensic Science Week special episode, Just Science interviews Brett Williams, the CEO of Verogen, about the GEDmatch database, how it can be used by law enforcement to perform forensic genealogy searches for investigative leads, and the short- and long-term plans Verogen has for the widely used database and related services.
Verogen is a spin-off of the Illumina corporation and has grown to be an innovator in the realm of forensic genomic technologies. Since their inception, Verogen has evolved from forensic applications to focus on biometrics-based human identification, as a whole. Following this vision, in December of 2019 Verogen acquired GEDmatch, a crowd-sourced database used by millions of genealogy enthusiasts to trace their family trees, but more recently it has been adopted by law enforcement to aid in cold case investigations.
Listen along with our guest host, Donia Slack, as she and Brett Williams discuss the impact that genetic genealogy and GEDmatch have had on the criminal justice system in this episode of Just Science.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].
Just COVID-19: The Impact to Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault
This week on Just Science, we are publishing a special release episode in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Social distancing, shelter in place, and other responses to COVID-19 can create a stressful environment for survivors of sexual assault especially if they feel they cannot access resources or are physically unable to seek help. In addition, highly stressful situations that result from significant amounts of change, such as unemployment, disruption in ‘normal’ activities, and social isolation may increase the risk of domestic violence and sexual assault. In this podcast, we will discuss what services are available to survivors of sexual assault, including leveraging on-line platforms and modified strategies for first responders, rape crisis centers, and victim advocates. We will also discuss how we as a friend, family member, and community can be prepared to respond to a victim of sexual assault in this challenging time.
Listen to last year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month episode “Just the Evolution of Sexualt Assault Evidence Collection” with guest Dr. Pat Speck by clicking here.
If you or someone you know is need of emotional support, advice, or crisis intervention please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673), or visit, www.rainn.org, the rape, abuse and incest national network, for advocacy support online.
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