The Narcotics Section of NFSA provides through, accurate and timely examination of narcotics evidence(s) for any law enforcement agency and to give expert testimony in courts. Here, the term “Narcotics” refer to any drug/chemical controlled under CNSA, 1997. Narcotics Section examines solids, powder, plant materials and liquids for the presence of controlled substances. Narcotics Section provides guidance and training to law enforcement personnel and other members of criminal justice system in the areas of collection, preservation and submission of physical evidence(s) relating to narcotics. The state-of-the-art and modern instruments e.g. GCMS, GCFID, UV-Vis spectrophotometer and Stereomicroscope are used for the analysis of controlled substances. The scientific staff of narcotics section is highly qualified and fully trained in the analysis of controlled substances.
Forensic Services offered by Narcotics Section
- Narcotics Section of NFSA will proceeds with the requirement of control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997 (CNSA 1997).
- In routine cases, scope of analysis will be limited to identification of any narcotics or psychotropic substance defined in the said act.
- No quantitative analysis will be performed in the routine case.
- No quantitative analysis will be performed in case of any natural material e.g. cannabis or Poast/Bhukki (opium) etc.
- If the request of the analysis confirms the particular substance, no analysis will be performed to detect the presence of all narcotic or controlled substance.
- If the particular substance, analysis of which is requested, is the absent and the presence of any other narcotic substance or controlled substance is confirmed during the analysis performed, it will be reported.
- If the request of the analysis is to confirm the presence of any narcotics or controlled substance, analysis will be performed to detect the presence of all narcotics or controlled substance.
- Non-controlled pharmaceuticals with the identifiable marks will not confirmed through analysis useless there is evidence of tampering or a solid reason to suspect counterfeit.
- Pharmaceutical preparation containing any Narcotics or psychotropic substance, defined in the CNSA 1997, shall be analyzed.
- Only one representative item will be analyzed, if multiple items of pharmaceuticals, controlled under CNSA 1997, having same printed information (same brand name, batch umber and company name) are received for analysis.
- All negative cases and cases in which Presumptive Testing seems to be ambiguous/ inconclusive shall be reported only after confirmation.
Documents Required for Case Submission in Narcotics Section
- FIR copy, analysis request letter (e.g. SSP/ SP letter or equivalent) and road certificate etc. should be submitted with the evidence.
- The court order for the analysis is the least requirement for the cases submitted by court.
- FIR # and evidence description should be same on all the documents and evidence packing.
- Evidence should be submitted by the investigation officer or by the person whose name is written on road certificate as submitting person.
- Seal markings on evidence should be same as mentioned on FIR copy.
- All the cases, in which minimum requirement for the acceptance of a case are not fulfilled, will be dealt as Discrepancy cases.
- In such cases, the submitting agency will be contacted through ERU to resolve the matter.
- The submitted case property will be weighed along with all packing material by ERU personnel at the time of receiving or by the assigned analyst before opening the parcel for analysis and compared to the weight mentioned on the document.
- If the evidence item weighs less than the mentioned on the documents then, the submitting person will be informed.
- The case may be returned without analysis to the submitting person, if he does not give his consent to proceed further. OR
- The case may be analyzed if the submitting person gives his consent in writing with his signature and thumb impression that, “The Weight of the Sealed Parcel with packing material is gram(s). Please proceed with the Case as per agency policy”.
- If such discrepancy case is received and sampling is not performed on the same day, then such cases will be dealt as discrepancy cases.
- The NFSA lab may not accept any improperly packaged and/ or sealed evidence.
Types of Evidence Analyzed Includes:
- Drug material (e.g. plants, resins, powder, tablets, liquid, paper containing controlled substance, etc.)
- Drug stuff, only if it is suspected to contain controlled substances residues requiring analysis
- Other items suspected of containing controlled substances or drugs
- If fingerprint examination is required on the inner packaging or other pieces of evidence, it must be done prior to submission of evidence for drug testing.
Collection and Submission of Controlled Substance (Cs) Evidence
- Reasonable quantity from Narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or the controlled substances seized, shall be drawn on the spot of recovery and dispatched to the narcotics laboratory.
- Samples may be dispatched for analysis under the cover of a test request letter specified at the earliest, but not later than seventy two hours of the seizure. The envelope should be sealed and marked “secret drug sample”.
- CS evidence recovered separately must not be packaged together in order to avoid cross-contamination. These items should be listed as separate evidence/exhibits on the case submission form.
- Drug-related evidence that is found commingling in a large container must be packaged together, as there is no need to separate the items.
- Used drug field-test kits must never be submitted.
Tablets, Capsules, and Prescription Medication Evidence
- Tablets, capsules, or other prescription medications must be itemized separately on the case submission form if they are different in appearance, origin, etc., unless they are found in the same container or location. If the tablets, capsules, or other prescription medications are found in different locations, they must receive different evidence/exhibit numbers. If found commingling, they should be listed under the same evidence/exhibit number.
- The number and type (e.g. color, size, markings, etc.) of tablets, capsules, or other prescription medications submitted for analysis must be indicated on the case submission form.
- Unopened, commercially-sealed bottles or containers of tablets, capsules, or other types of prescription medications must not be opened for counting or visual description.
The Case submission form must include a minimum of the following:
- Either the drug name (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) or simply “controlled drug” or “controlled substance” must be entered.
- Marijuana samples must not be referred to as “THC” or “Cannabis sativa”.
- Fresh plant material must be dried until the leaves are crisp and all soil and other potting material must be removed from all plants prior to submission.
- The dried material must be packaged in an appropriately labeled paper bag. Plastic bags must never be used to package fresh plant material, it may become destroy the evidence. Dangerous mold spores may also be produced.
- A representative sample of plant material from the crop will be submitted.
- Seeds and/or germinating seeds or mature plant stems devoid of leaves will not be accepted for analysis at the NFSA.
- A sampling consists of a representative cutting taken from the seized plant material.
- An entire plant indicates that the roots are submitted and are still attached to the stalk, leaves, and bud portion of the plant.
- A seedling refers to the small, fragile plant with leaves that is only a few inches in height and is no longer attached to the seed hull.
- A germinating seed refers to a seed from which a white root has started to form, but fully developed leaves are not present. These are not seedlings.
Lysergic Diethylamide (LSD) Evidence
- Suspected LSD samples must be protected from light, since it will cause deterioration of any LSD that may be present in the exhibit. This can be accomplished by submitting the exhibit in an appropriately labeled brown paper bag or manila envelope.
- Sheets of perforated paper suspected of containing LSD must be left intact. The total number of “hits” (individual perforated squares) contained in the evidence/exhibit must be indicated on the case submission form.
- Liquid evidence/exhibits must be sealed in glass, not plastic, containers, preferably with Teflon-lined caps that are leak-proof. The evidence envelope must be properly padded to prevent breakage and properly labeled to indicate the presence of glass contents.
- Any particulate matter or undissolved powders or material must be kept as a separate evidence/exhibit in another glass container from the liquid samples.
- Partially-charred cigarettes and/or cigars must be separated from the ashes and submitted for analysis. The ashtrays containing ashes only will not be accepted for analysis.
- Pipes, glass tubes, and other forms of homemade smoking apparatuses containing partially charred residues are acceptable for analysis. The suspected drug (e.g. marijuana, cocaine base, PCP, etc.) must be indicated on the case submission form.
- Suspected Anabolic Steroid Evidence
- Partially-used bottles of suspected liquid injectable steroid evidence/exhibits must be carefully sealed to prevent leakage.
- Homemade mixtures of steroids are commonly encountered and provide analytical challenges in identification. Therefore, as much information as possible must be included on the case submission form about the possible identification of these pieces of evidence/exhibits from information derived at the scene including notes, hand-written labels, or discarded manufacturer labels.
Drug Paraphernalia Evidence
- Pipes, spoons, scales and other types of drug paraphernalia may contain trace quantities of drugs for analysis. As such, they should be packaged properly to prevent contamination unless they are found in contact or mixed with other drug evidence.
- Only a representative sample must be submitted for analysis if multiple pieces of evidence/exhibits are suspected of containing trace amounts of the same drug and are part of the same case.
- The hypodermic syringes with needles may be submitted. They must be packaged in a sharps-proof container, labeled “Warning: Syringe Needles”. The outer packaging must also be labeled with a “BIOHAZARD” warning, and the case submission form must clearly depict that a needle is present in the evidence/exhibit.
Packaging and Labeling of Cs Evidence
- Evidence must be packaged in appropriate controlled substances envelopes/ containers.
- Fresh plant material or whole plants must be packaged in paper bags or envelopes to prevent rotting.
- The Forensic Evidence Analyst must be notified upon submission that the evidence contains fresh plant material, which needs to be dried prior to submission.
- All evidence must be properly sealed upon submission.
- Controlled substances envelopes containing a cellophane window must be evidence-tape sealed around all edges where cellophane and package meet.
- Any controlled substances submitted in clear plastic bags (large or small) must be sealed with evidence tape, including “self-sealing” bags.
- All controlled substances must be submitted in the most reasonably sized envelope for the exhibit.
- All outer-edge openings must be completely sealed with clearly-marked evidence tape.
- The collecting officer responsible for initially packaging the material must initial and date across the evidence tape, at the point where it meets the package.
- Outer packaging must be clearly and legibly labeled with the following minimum information:
- Suspect’s name
- FIR number
- Submitting agency
- Date of offense
- Investigation officer
- A description of contents that includes the number and types of suspected controlled substances or drugs
- Sharp or pointed objects (e.g. needles, syringes, etc.) must be placed in an approved sharps container following the “Sharps Evidence” guidelines prior to being placed in an outer package for submission.
- Packaging must be sufficiently secure to prevent cross-contamination between different exhibits.
- The submitting officer must re-package any evidence in the presence of a Forensic Evidence Analyst prior to submission.
- The NFSA lab may not accept any improperly packaged and/ or sealed evidence.