The opioid crisis has devastated communities across America. In 2017, nearly 50,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses. At the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we’re working with our interagency and international partners to stop the flow of illicit opioids across our borders and make our communities safer. As part of this effort, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) works to intercept illicit opioids entering the United States through the international mail. To bolster our multilayered defense approach, we need new tools and technology to help detect opioids trafficked through the mail.
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) makes it a priority to tap into cutting-edge security solutions. That’s why we recently launched the Opioid Detection Challenge, a $1.55 million USD prize competition calling upon innovators to submit novel plans for rapid, nonintrusive detection tools that will help find illicit opioids in international mail. The competition is in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
The Challenge calls on innovators in a wide range of fields, from forensic science to industrial quality assurance to artificial intelligence, to help disrupt the flow of opioids into the United States. Submissions should be well-developed plans for automated, user-friendly tools and technologies that have the potential to quickly and accurately detect opioids in parcels, without disrupting the flow of mail. The Challenge is open to international and domestic participants, as defined in the Rules, Terms and Conditions.
Those interested in participating in the Challenge should submit their plans by 4:59 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The judges will evaluate the submissions and select up to eight finalists to advance to Stage 2 of the competition. Each finalist is expected to be awarded an equal share of the $800,000 Stage 1 prize pool. In Stage 2, finalists will participate in a 14-week prototyping accelerator, during which they will develop their plans into testable prototypes and compete for an additional $750,000 in cash prizes.
To learn more, join us for a live informational webinar on March 11, 2019 at 1:30 PM ET. The webinar will provide an in-depth overview of the Challenge and give attendees the opportunity to ask questions during a live Q&A. Register here.
Look for updates about the Challenge on S&T’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. Join the conversation using #OpioidDetection.