Evidence Management – A Unique Solution for Drug Disposition

Posted on: Mar 15, 2023

Categories: Evidence Management, Evidence management training, Evidence Training

In this webinar, Shawn talked with the folks at NarcGone, who demonstrated their innovative approach to a long-standing problem for evidence custodians everywhere.

Shawn began by saying, “We always try to direct people to our Evidence Management Community Forum on Facebook. That’s a resource that we would encourage you to utilize. Reach out and contact evidence managers across the country that might be dealing with the same issue that you’re dealing with.                                                                                     

On a different note, this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the partnership that we have with Tracker Products. I would encourage you to go check out their product. They are an evidence management software company that can help you improve your evidence management chain of custody. 

Evidence Management

***Top – Shawn Henderson / Middle – James Nally / Bottom – 

Moving on… If you’ve got 3D glasses, go ahead and put ’em on cuz we’re gonna do 3D today. And when we talk about 3D, we’re not talking about the third dimension. We’re talking about Drug Disposition Demonstrations. 

We’ve got the folks from NarcGone here with us, and they are going to do a drug disposition demonstration to help you get rid of some drugs that you have in storage. I know that’s something that most of us deal with, and it is a problem for everyone that deals with it. So we’re gonna learn a bit about a new technique that might take care of that. 

But first, I wanna talk a little bit about 2022.  James and I have been kind of brainstorming for the last year and a half, ever since we started doing the free online evidence management training. We’ve been talking about different ways that we could change the culture of evidence management, to help you make a difference. 

And after a while, you realize you can’t change the culture by doing the same thing over and over and over again. So this year, we’re trying a new idea to solve a very old problem. When I talk to evidence custodians across the country, I always hear, Hey, I’d love to go to one of your training classes, but our agency just can’t afford it. Do you do scholarships? 

Traditionally, our answer’s been, No, we really don’t. But, we’re really passionate about reaching evidence custodians and training people on the best practices and standards. We feel very strongly that the evidence management industry is a linchpin for the justice system. And I don’t think we’re overstating it when we make those claims. 

The work that you do as an evidence custodian is invaluable. If it weren’t for the job that you do at your agency, justice would not be served. And if that is the goal… to change the culture, to reach people, and to improve practices, we’ve gotta reach more people regardless of whether they can pay. 

So in 2022, we had a new idea. You exist, you’re out there, and you need training all across the country in each of the 50 different states. Well, we’ve tried two different ways to approach that problem. One of the things that we realized is that there is an entire industry out there that wants to support you and your efforts, and they want to be in front of an audience that is very unique. 

Evidence management

When you look at a company like Tracker Products, it’s really critical for them to get in front of evidence custodians so that people know about their product. It makes sense. The best place to do that is at an evidence management training class or conference because that’s where large groups of our people congregate. There aren’t very many evidence management training classes or conferences out there. There just aren’t. So if we could bring those two things together – evidence solutions and evidence custodians – to address both of their needs, I think that would be really cool.

So that’s what we started doing in 2022. Our two-day certification training – which includes training, training materials, and the certification class – is gonna be at no cost to the agency, and no cost to the individual participant. We think this is revolutionary. 

Free training ain’t free. I mean, it costs money to put on training. There are training materials, there’s travel, and there’s a host of different logistical things that have to be taken care of. But,  we really believe that this training is the best in the country, and we wanna provide that to you at no cost to you.

And the way that we do that is we find companies to partner with us that believe the same things we do. We’ve had a partner in Tracker Products that have believed in this mission from the get-go. They’ve been there from the ground floor and have supported us fully for years. 

But as we change this model, we’re looking at other partners, new partners to help us reach even more people. So Tracker’s gonna help us out this year. In the future, we hope to partner with additional industry vendors to offer more classes at no cost. 

Another fun thing that we’re trying to do is work in states where there are evidence management  state associations like PEAF in Florida or Cape in California, CAPE It in Colorado, or MAPE in Missouri. We’re not trying to compete against people who are trying to reach evidence custodians or change the culture or reach people in that state. We’re trying to work with you. 

So we’re excited about all those things, but that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here to talk about drugs. 

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The biggest nightmare for me as an evidence custodian was when we would have to do large drug destructions. Our agency was just outside of Dallas, Texas. The only incinerator facility near us was in Carthage, Texas. And Carthage is a long way from Dallas; it’s like a two-and-a-half-hour drive. 

And it’s a miserable drive cuz you’re in a large crime scene van filled with stinky dope and driving it across the country. The way that I found the incinerator facility in Carthage, Texas, was by following the plume of black smoke emanating from the smoke stack. They burn medical waste and dope. It was next door to a Tyson chicken plant – that’s why I don’t eat that kind of chicken anymore – and that facility was the only game in town for people in North Texas. 

James and I have talked to people in other regions, like Nebraska. In Omaha, they had a huge seizure of fentanyl, and they were trying to figure out where they were gonna get rid of it. There’s nowhere in Nebraska that is a possibility. I believe James, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, the closest thing we could find for them was in California. 

So, drug destruction is a huge problem. It’s a safety challenge. It’s a security challenge. It is a logistical challenge. And honestly,  it’s a resource challenge. That’s why we’re excited to have NarcGone on today to talk about something that might offset some of these challenges for you in the area of drug disposition. So, the guy that’s been waiting patiently in his office is Jim Fleming from NarcGone. Say hello, Jim.”

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Jim said, “Greetings, everybody. And thank you Shawn for this opportunity. No problem with the wait at all. I appreciate getting to know more and more about the industry. I’ve been involved with NarcGone now for two years, and we’re convinced we have a truly unique product to help in the property and evidence room. 

As Shawn has mentioned, destroying drugs after they’ve been court released – or maybe they’re not gonna see a court date, and they’ll be destroyed upon confiscation. So we want to let you know what went into the thinking behind it, and my individual role. I’m a manufacturer’s rep and the business development manager for NarcGone.

NorcGone is a safe chemical destruction product –  I’m gonna keep emphasizing safe – easy, cost-effective, onsite, on-demand way to destroy your Schedule 1 narcotics. I’m gonna repeat that onsite and on demand. You do it when you are ready to do it. If it’s released today, but you can’t get to get to it today, keep it secure and get to it when you can. It’s gonna be in your property and evidence room or designated spot that you’ve chosen. 

I’ll introduce you to the two versions of it. NarcGone HD for Schedule one drugs andNarcGone C for cannabis drugs. We wanna make sure that you’re familiar with the features and benefits, at least as we see ’em from our experience of talking with evidence management teams and trainers, such as Shawn, and others who we’ve come in contact with over a couple of years. Scores of law enforcement agencies, and hundreds of your peers, have given us feedback, saying the product is definitely a beneficial tool.

We’re not saying we’re a 100% resolution to everything that’s wrong with the handling of drugs, but we are saying we’re a terrific tool and your peers are confirming that for us. Lastly, we realize you don’t have an open checkbook. The tools we off allow you to formulate a budgetary consideration to your management team so that you can ask for the fund, the key being cost-effectiveness. 

Shawn, thank you for the lead-in about how hard it is to find incinerators that are compliant with the EPA restrictions. You just cannot find incinerators that are functioning under the EPA clean air considerations. So, I wanna remove the mystery and the magic of NarcGone early in the presentation.” 

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Jim presented a 90 second video that said, “NarcGone products, specifically formulated for law enforcement use, will render both prescription drugs and illicit drugs inert and unrecoverable within minutes. NarcGone is environmentally safe and comes in four convenient sizes from 64 ounces to five gallons. 

With NarcGone, the disposal of drugs cannot be easier or more affordable. NarcGone requires no special training to use and the carbon-based chemicals don’t require any special storage or monitoring. NarcGone not only meets all EPA and DEA requirements for drug disposal, it is also a supported and recommended disposal system listed in the National Drug Control Strategy. 

How easy is NarcGone? 

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Number one, remove the drugs from any packaging or container. Number two, place the drugs into the NarcGone bottle using the supplied funnel. Number three, shake the container to make sure the proprietary carbon-based solution covers all of the drugs within a few minutes. The drugs are neutralized and unrecoverable. Four, NarcGone has a shelf life of three years. This allows you to continue to use the bottle until the contents reach two inches from the top. 

Once the bottle is full, you can place the provided liquid hardener inside the container and shake it for the final time. Within a few minutes, the container will be able to be discarded as normal trash with no risk of drug recovery or harm to the environment.

NarcGone is for law enforcement use only. Since this product not only neutralizes prescription drugs, it also renders inert illicit drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.”

When the video ended, Jim said, “There are a couple of inaccuracies in that video that we need to make you aware of. When our founders came up with the concept that was accurate at the time. But a couple of little things have changed, such as A) funnels are no longer provided. B) The shelf life has changed based on our R & D engineers. We’ve determined that once the containers are opened, they have a one-year shelf life. Unopened they have a five-year shelf life. 

We would encourage you not to buy bigger than you need because we’ll be able to ship from inventory for you the next time you need something. But if you do buy it and you do not open it, you have a five-year shelf life on it. The hardeners ( now liquid or powder) are subject to what’s available at the factory at the time. But, it will not make a difference to you because you’re just pouring in the whole package and you are not handling the hardener. 

Another quick point I’d like to make is we now only have three sizes. We have a one-gallon size, a two-and-a-half-gallon size, and a five-gallon size, depending on the accumulation that you have in your evidence room. Hopefully, it’ll be different after the first time you used NarcGone. Maybe you’ve been accumulating drugs for a few years, and you need to get rid of a large amount.

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As you can see, we fill the container half full. The remaining airspace is now yours to add your powders and pills and liquids to the solution. Keep shaking it up every time you use it. Put on the cap after you use it, and set it aside until its next use. Again, you can reuse it for up to one year from the date that you open it. So, you do not have to fill it fully the first time. 

You can use it over time as drugs become available for disposition. When you do get within two inches of the top, depending on the product, you’ll add the proper number of hardeners. If you’ve ever dealt with a paint hardener so that you can throw away paint cans, this is similar. You add the hardeners to the solution in the container, and you set it aside for about an hour.

So you have done the two most important things that the DEA requires to destroy drugs. You’ve rendered them inert upon contact with our carbon-based solution. The very day that you put it in, the destruction starts immediately, and it’s over within a couple of minutes. And you’ve rendered them unrecoverable. 

For the EPA’s compliance, it is now considered solid waste, and you can throw the container into a dumpster. We always encourage you to check with your local landfill considerations just to be certain. The EPA defines this type of waste as a solidified non-hazardous activated carbon product. At that point in time, order more. 

You’ll be able to see, particularly in the five gallons, why we want you to shake it up. Because the carbon crystal sometimes will settle in the patented formula that we have. 

Now let’s talk about the difference between the two formulas before going to Q & A… We came out with only NarcGone HD a few years ago, but continuing R&D testing revealed to our engineers that we were not destroying the THC component of cannabis products. 

At that point in time did render cannabis unrecoverable but we cannot state that we destroyed THC with our HD formula. So our engineers came up with the NarcGone C formula. It doesn’t destroy any other Schedule I narcotics, but it does specifically destroy the THC component. 

The reason it’s available only in five-gallon containers is because we know you have a lot of leafy products involved with what you’ve confiscated. And that eats up a lot of airspace. The process is the same. Fill it up to two inches from the top over the one-year life expectancy of the product. Add the hardeners at the end, and once the gel is set, you can throw it away. 

Those are the key features. We want it to be easy. It’s onsite. It’s on demand. And you don’t have to make these drives to incinerators… while they’re still available. Shawn, if you’ve got questions…”

Shawn said, “Yeah. We’ve got several questions, and I also want to ask one. You currently offer one, two, and five gallons. Are y’all looking into scaling it up into even larger container sizes?”

Jim said, “That’s a great question. The easy answer is yes, it is scalable. We’re faced with the logistics of doing it. We can secure – I forget the exact dimension – 33-gallon or 55-gallon containers. We can secure agitation devices because it’s all in the agitation to make sure the drugs come in contact with our carbon crystals. And that it continues to attack the drugs in that manner. 

So, yes, we can scale it up. What we’re really looking for is an opportunity to prove it. No one has approached us with anything other than a five-gallon consideration. But if there is some collective accumulation, like some county considerations, sheriff’s departments, maybe some states. 

So scalability is certainly available. The challenge is shipping it to the location and then making sure that the location keeps the agitation going. But again, there are industrial strength agitators that can be used to do that.” 

Shawn said, “ I think the answer to, Who might have more than five gallons of dope in their room? Is very nontechnical… everybody! I think lots of people have a lot of drugs they need to get rid of. Everybody is facing the same dilemma. 

But, enough of my questions, my soapbox. Let’s get to some viewer mail. What about fentanyl?”

Jim said, “We have the industry expert in the other frame here (James Nally). The chemical makeup of NarcGone HD will indeed destroy fentanyl. The question is, How do we do that safely? James, if you have a first blush reaction, please share it.”

James said, “First of all, are we talking about separating the packaging from the narcotics? If that’s the case, then we fall into a whole new level of safety. I’m not a forensic scientist, but I would only assume that you’d wanna use the same care that a scientist would while they’re doing the analysis of the drug. I know they use a hood with a reverse-pressure air system. So, I mean, that’s really the only thing I could come up with to tell you. I would assume you have to separate narcotics from the packaging for the purpose of pouring them into the funnel.”

Jim said, “Yes. I should emphasize this while we were talking about the product itself, it must come in contact with the narcotic. There are considerations that have been suggested to us. But again, Can it be done safely? Because we haven’t done anything to help you if we can’t make it safe, right? But I would like to think that with the experience of James and the Evidence Management Institute that we can come up with a solution to at least be considered.”

James said, “Yeah, absolutely. And, I’d like to get the opinion of some forensic experts as well, because they’re the folks that are handling it raw and in the lab. But they have the safety equipment, which that’s a luxury that we don’t have in evidence as any type of safety equipment to complete these narcotic destructions. So that’s a “To be continued” on that one, I think. We’ll definitely have some conversations, and come back to the audience with a more complete answer in the future.”

Shawn changed gears and said, “So here’s another question. And I think this, this is more about volume. In the containers, half of the volume available for drugs is taken up by the solution. So, how many drugs will fit, or how many will each thing hold? I think that’s a difficult question to quantify if you’ve got the math already figured out. Great. But…”

Jim said, “The question becomes, How big’s the pill? My best way to determine the best size container for agencies is, How big is your volume? You can look at a five-gallon paint can at Home Depot the next time you’re there. Imagine putting your drugs in there, how much would fit? We’d like to work with evidence custodians to find out how much you destroyed.” 

Shawn said, “Yeah, I think that would be an interesting kind of study for y’all to figure out, What are we talking about? How many grams, how many pounds, how many… you know, a measurable quantity. But, even though we can’t answer those two questions right now, those are two questions that we can figure out answers to. Let me scroll down…”

Jim said, “While you scroll, I’ll also mention that if there’s someone out there that wants to work with us on something like that, that wants to purchase five gallons and perhaps videotape what you’re placing into so we can see it as it displaces it.”

Shawn read the next question, “How long does the process take to neutralize once the chemicals are placed inside? And what term does the EPA use to call drugs neutralized?” 

Jim said, “Actually it isn’t the EPA that requires that, it’s the DEA. The DEA simply calls in neutralized. NarcGone begins rendering it inert immediately. The process takes a couple of minutes at most, depending on the volume that you placed into it. 

Where the EPA comes into consideration is, How do you dispose of the final product? And that’s where that carbon-based solid waste designation comes into play. Once the solidifying compound is added, the container and its content can be thrown into a dumpster.”

Shawn closed out the webinar by saying, “ Thank you, Jim, for being here with us and for talking to people about NarcGone. We look forward to seeing what y’all come up with in the future.”

Tracker Products and The Evidence Management Institute want to contribute to your ongoing education through… a series of FREE online evidence management training classes. Watch and comment on the Tracker Products webinars here. Check out The Evidence Show! And to get in on the discussion, with over 1000 evidence custodians – join the Evidence Management Community Forum on Facebook. 

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