Controlled Substances

Controlled Substances

Analysts in this specialty test materials for the presence of controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, and LSD. Illegal drugs may be present in powders, solid materials, liquids, blotter paper, or in plant material. This unit also examines pharmaceutical preparations to determine their content if they are part of a criminal case.

Analytical Methods

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General Information

  1. Controlled Substances: Generally, positive identification of the substance is the only test performed (qualitative). Sample purity (quantitative) is analyzed only by on methamphetamine cases in which a federal prosecutor has interest. Please submit quant cases directly to the lab in Coeur d’Alene along w/the answers to the quantitative PreLog questions.
    1. Some drug exhibits may contain very large amounts of plant material or powder. Please contact the appropriate lab manager to discuss how much of the exhibit needs to be submitted.
    2. Sharps:
      1. Syringes: The syringe shall be packaged in an appropriate biohazard safety tube. The evidence envelope must be clearly labeled as containing a syringe upon submission to the laboratory. Improperly packaged syringes will be returned without analysis. Syringes shall not be analyzed if other evidence is available which provides the same proof that the examination of the syringe would provide. Syringes shall be packaged separately if the syringe is part of a multi-exhibit case. If the syringe is not packaged separately, the entire case shall be returned.
      2. Other Sharps: Sharp or pointed objects or items with sharp edges (e.g. knives, razors, glass) shall be confined within packaging that renders these objects safe to handle.
    3. Package in evidence envelope or heat-sealed plastic. Be sure evidence is dry. Place evidence tape across seal and write initials on seal.
  2. Clandestine Laboratories:
    1. Special packaging is required for Clandestine Laboratories. Please call the laboratory for assistance in packaging these items.
  3. Controlled Substances and Latent Prints:
    1. If fingerprint testing is required on a container holding controlled substances, separate the controlled substances from the container. Submit the container to the Meridian Lab for fingerprints and the controlled substances to the laboratory handling your region.
    2. If submitting paraphernalia that needs controlled substance and fingerprints, please contact the Meridian Lab to determine which test will be done first.


  • If using a field test, do not submit the used test kit or materials.
  • Package fresh mushrooms and marijuana plants in PAPER not plastic.
  • Dry material before submitting to the lab.
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