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About the project

Reference Number: 2297

Project Acronym: EUFORiaR - European Union Forensic Intelligence and Reference Materials

Project Title: EUFORiaR

Time to Completion: 36 months

Technical Area: Measurement and standards -> Reference Materials

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It is essential that harmful drugs are identified as soon as they emerge on markets, and this requires certified reference materials (CRMs). The challenge is that chemical manufacturers typically take several months to initiate CRM production, causing critical delays in legislative/public health responses.

In contrast, illicit drug markets are fast evolving, with new phyto-, synthetic and semi-synthetic cannabinoids regularly emerging, with users unaware of the associated risks. Resulting harms may be under-reported because many laboratories are either unaware of these substances or do not have the appropriate tools to identify and quantify them. 


Additionally, the illicit drug market is difficult to legislate against: as one substance is legally controlled, a new structural variant appears that is technically legal in producer jurisdictions. Testing laboratories need CRMs to identify and quantify these new substances. 

Yet, chemical manufacturers only start producing them after a new substance is reported and start being formally monitored following unequivocal identification, which can take up to 1 year. Official responses to new substances therefore typically lag several months behind their emergence and associated harms.

There is hence a severe lack of up-to-date CRMs and ready-made calibration products, including of urinary metabolites, to facilitate effective monitoring, swift risk assessment and legislative control. This makes the identification of high-risk substances particularly challenging, delaying public-health interventions. 

The current approach to the appearance of new substances is reactive. The EUFORiaR project proposes a predictive and proactive approach to cannabinoid CRM production and provision of easy-to-use novel quantitation methodologies -- made available before a new substance or product emerges.

EUFORiaR will address the urgent need to supply CRMs to regulatory authorities and researchers, helping them to rapidly identify, quantify and risk assess these substances. This allows for much faster risk assessment of emerging and potentially harmful cannabinoids. The cannabinoid CRMs developed, certified and brought to market by EUFORiaR will allow authorities worldwide to keep up, for the first time, with the expanding and fast-evolving legal, grey and illegal cannabinoid market(s).

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The EUFORiaR project is divided into 6 distinct work packages. The above PERT diagram shows the work flow and interdependencies of the various work packages.

The number of new Phyto Cannabinoids emerging on the illicit market continues to rise. 


The EURORiaR project will provide reliable and efficient quantification of the most prevalent Phyto Cannabinoids.


Illicit drug markets are fast evolving, and new Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs) are regularly emerging. Users are unaware of the associated risks, and regulators and the drug testing laboratories are challenged when tasked with identifying them.


Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are the largest and most diverse group of new psychoactive substances (NPS) currently monitored in Europe, with 209 new SCs being reported between 2008 and 2020.

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