President's Message March 2017

I would like to thank the membership of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists for the opportunity to lead the Society as its President in 2017. It is a privilege to serve the members of the Society.

When I joined the Society of Forensic Toxicologists in 1983, more than 30 years ago, SOFT was comprised of several hundred members. The annual meeting was intimate, Society business was conducted in a crowded, smoky hospitality suite, and the focus of the scientific sessions was on carbon monoxide and cyanide, and drugs such as amitriptyline, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, propoxyphene, and thioridazine. Today, we devote our time to the study of novel psychoactive substances such as AB-FUBINACA, 25I-NBOMe, α-PVP and U-47700.

In 2017, the membership of SOFT will likely exceed 1,400 members. The day-to-day business of SOFT is complex, which includes the management of a two million-dollar annual budget. The SOFT Office was recently relocated to a 4-room office suite. This coming year, I look forward to working with SOFT’s Executive Director, Beth Olson, and SOFT’s Administrative Assistant, CC. Beth and I meet weekly, by phone, to conduct the vital business of the Society, which includes the reconfiguration of SOFT’s finances, the development of SOFT’s mission and vision statement, an enhancement of SOFT’s website, and the development SOFT’s promotion and social media strategy. Beth and CC are working on this year’s joint SOFT-TIAFT annual meeting, which will be SOFT’s largest meeting to date. They are also in the process of updating and automating many components of SOFT’s operations to allow for smoother and simpler interaction between SOFT members and the organization.

Regarding my plan for the coming year… Many of us are in laboratories challenged by the emergence of new psychoactive substances including fentanyl and its analogs that are responsible for the deaths of thousands. As a group, we need to advocate for strategies to augment our work in this area. For example, in addition to the implementation of new methods, we must work with the DEA and our suppliers to speed-up the availability of analytical reference materials. In addition, we must work together to enhance the surveillance of the spread of these lethal compounds across the United States and the world through real-time sharing of information among professionals including toxicologists, drug chemists, medical examiners and public health epidemiologists. Meeting annually no longer suffices. Finally, we must find ways to supplement our budgets to support the purchase of new instrumentation, the development of new methods, and the training of personnel. To that end, Michelle Peace and I will be meeting with representatives from many Federal agencies engaged in the drug epidemic including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, National Institute of Justice, National Institute of Standards and Technology and Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve. I am looking forward to a productive year as President of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Feel free to contact me by e-mail at bruce-goldberger@ufl.edu regarding your thoughts for the coming year.

Bruce Goldberger, Ph.D.
SOFT 2017 President