The Controlled Substances Unit analyzes powders, liquids, tablets, plant material and other seized drugs. Preliminary testing includes reference source comparison, chemical color tests and chromatography. Confirmatory testing includes mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry.
Reference source comparison will typically be performed on pharmaceutical preparations. Confirmatory testing will be performed on these pharmaceutical preparations when a court date is set in District or Federal Court and a laboratory request is submitted.
The net weight of an item will typically be reported, unless otherwise noted. The net weight reflects the weight of the substance without any packaging. If the item weighs 0.05 grams or less, then it is typically considered a residue and may not be analyzed under ordinary circumstances.
If a valid preliminary field test checklist is included in the evidence, the item will not be analyzed unless a District Court date is set. For safety reasons, hypodermic syringes and their contents are not routinely examined. Prior approval from the Forensic Laboratory Director or the Chemistry Laboratory Manager must be obtained before submitting a request for analysis of these types of items.
The Major Violator/Narcotics Crimes Bureau is responsible for requesting all Patrol Bureau controlled substances cases based on the District Attorney's determination of whether the case is prosecutable.
The Clandestine Laboratory Chemist Response Team is housed within the Controlled Substances Unit and is available 24 hours a day.