The Controlled Substances Section identifies pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, plants or parts of plants, related chemicals and drug paraphernalia. Among the substances chemists identify are marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic stimulants, commonly called bath salts.
Analysts use chemicals and instruments to identify components of the samples received for testing. Their methods include spot tests, microcrystalline testing, thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Analysts also provide expert testimony in court proceedings.