U.S. Customs and Border Protection is searching for cutting-edge, nonintrusive technology to detect opioids being illicitly trafficked through the international mail and has established a $1.55 million competitive global prize to encourage private sector innovation.
In addition to CBP, other agencies involved in the Opioid Detection Challenge are the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
“CBP is excited to partner with DHS S&T to identify the next generation of interdiction tools,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan in a statement. “The technologies that emerge from this innovation challenge will be important elements of our multilayered approach to combat the flow of opioids and other dangerous illicit drugs.”
The challenge calls on technology developers to present “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.” It’s open to both U.S. and international firms. Submissions are due by April 24.
During 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. Stage 2 will culminate in a live test of the prototypes hosted by DHS. One grand prize winner is expected to be awarded $500,000 and one runner-up is expected to be awarded $250,000.
More information about the Opioid Detection Challenge is available here.