The Controlled Substances Unit analyzes powders, liquids, tablets, plant material and other items for the presence or absence of controlled and non-controlled substances and dangerous drugs. Preliminary testing used by the unit may include reference source comparison, microscopy, color testing and chromatography. Confirmatory testing can include mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry.
The net weight of the item will typically be reported, unless noted otherwise. The net weight will reflect the weight of the substance itself without any packaging. If the item weighs 0.05 gram or less, then it is considered a residue and will not be analyzed under ordinary circumstances.
When possible, preliminary reference source comparison will be performed on all pharmaceutical preparations. Confirmatory testing will be performed on these preparations only if the case is set for trial in District Court.
If there is a valid preliminary field test checklist included in the evidence, the item will not be analyzed by laboratory personnel unless it is set for trial in District Court, or if it is part of a marijuana misdemeanor trial.
Quantitative (percentage of illicit substance contained in the sample) analysis will only be performed on methamphetamine, PCP, pseudoephedrine or clan lab cases that are to be tried in Federal Court.
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 Clandestine Laboratory Chemist Response Team is housed within the Chemistry Detail and is available 24 hours a day.