S. 1280 would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to research processes and techniques to identify and differentiate illicit drugs containing xylazine and other novel synthetic opioids and reduce the time necessary to analyze those drugs. In addition, the bill would require NIST to coordinate opportunities for graduate and post-graduate research on detecting and identifying those drugs. S. 1280 would require NIST to report to the Congress on the bill’s implementation not later than one year after enactment. Finally, within two years of enactment, the bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report on the federal government’s capabilities to respond to threats posed by new psychoactive substances.
To carry out that research, NIST would need to enhance its capabilities for analyzing such drugs with specialized equipment and more employees to study those issues. The agency also would need to establish public, private, and academic partnerships to generate strategies and best practices for the safe handling, transport, and analysis of such drugs.
Using information from NIST and GAO, CBO estimates that implementing S. 1280 would cost $20 million over the 2023-2028 period; any spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Those estimated costs comprise the following: