The Office of Forensic Sciences Drug laboratories analyze more than 25,000 drug cases each year. The cases submitted are suspected to contain controlled dangerous substances. Controlled dangerous substances in the state of New Jersey encompass a wide range of compounds both naturally occurring substances, such as marihuana to clandestinely manufactured compounds, like MDMA or Ecstasy. Controlled substances can be broken down into different groups: Narcotics, Stimulants, Depressants, Hallucinogens, Anabolic Steroids, and other drugs. Analysis of the substances is done using state of the art instrumentation and methodologies. The Office of Forensic Science follows the most current CDS Law for the State of New Jersey which can be found on the New Jersey Legislator page: www.njleg.state.nj.us. The NJ Code of criminal justice, 2C, is the statute for which all the analyses, policy and procedures are based.
Instrumentation used by the Forensic Scientists in the Drug Laboratory include:
Agilent Technologies GCMS with robotic ALS apparatus
JY Horiba Raman Microspectrophotometer for Crack Cocaine/Cocaine HCL differentiation
Thermo-Nicolet Nexus 470 FT-IR Spectrometer
Common drugs that are seen in our NJ laboratories are:
Heroin is a highly addictive drug derived from morphine, which is obtained from the opium poppy. It affects the brain's pleasure systems and interferes with the brain's ability to perceive pain. Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, depending on user preference and the purity of the drug. Heroin can be injected into a vein ("mainlining"), injected into a muscle, smoked in a water pipe or standard pipe, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette, inhaled as smoke through a straw, known as "chasing the dragon," snorted as powder via the nose. Heroin is a Schedule I substance.
Marijuana, the most often used illegal drug in this country, is a product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Of the roughly 400 chemicals found in the cannabis plant, THC has the most effect on the brain. Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).
Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette called a "joint". It can be smoked in a water pipe, called a "bong", or mixed into food or brewed as tea. It has also appeared in cigars called "blunts". Marihuana is a Schedule I substance.
MDMA or Ecstasy (3-4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is a synthetic drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. It is classified as a stimulant. Ecstasy comes in a tablet form that is often branded, e.g. Playboy bunnies, Nike swoosh, skull and crossbones.
Taken in pill form, users sometimes take Ecstasy at "raves," clubs and other parties to keep on dancing and for mood enhancement. MDMA is a Schedule 1 substance.
Methamphetamine is a crystal-like powdered substance that sometimes comes in large rock-like chunks. When the powder flakes off the rock, the shards look like glass, which is another nickname for meth.
Methamphetamine is usually white or slightly yellow, depending on the purity.
Methamphetamine can be taken orally, injected, snorted, or smoked.
Methamphetamine is a Schedule I substance
Hydrocodone is an antitussive (cough suppressant) and analgesic agent for the treatment of moderate to moderately severe pain.
Studies indicate that hydrocodone is as effective, or more effective, than codeine for cough suppression and nearly equipotent to morphine for pain relief.
Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opiate in the United States with nearly 130 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products dispensed in 2006.
There are several hundred-brand name and generic hydrocodone products marketed. All are combination products and the most frequently prescribed combination is hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet®).
Inhalants are ordinary household products that are inhaled or sniffed by young people to get high.
There are hundreds of household products on the market today that can be misused as inhalants. Examples of products kids abuse to get high include model airplane glue, nail polish remover, cleaning fluids, hair spray, gasoline, the propellant in aerosol whipped cream, spray paint, fabric protector, air conditioner fluid (freon), cooking spray and correction fluid. These products are sniffed, snorted, bagged (fumes inhaled from a plastic bag), or "huffed" (inhalant-soaked rag, sock, or roll of toilet paper in the mouth) to achieve a high. Inhalants are also sniffed directly from the container.
The risk of sudden death with any given episode of inhalant use exceeds that presented with any other drug of abuse. Death has been noted to occur via a variety of cardiovascular, pulmonary, accidental, and violence-related mechanisms
LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamine, is the most common hallucinogen and is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals.
It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is usually found on "blotter" paper (paper that is perforated into small squares). The squares or "tabs" may have been colored or have images printed on them.
Liquid LSD is a clear liquid, usually in a small container, tube or flask. LSD can also be found in thin squares of gelatin.
LSD is taken orally. Gelatin and liquid can be put in the eyes. LSD is a Schedule I substance
Anabolic steroids are a group of powerful compounds closely related to the male sex hormone testosterone. Current legitimate medical uses include treatment of certain kinds of anemia. Body builders, long-distance runners, cyclists and various other athletes who claim that steroids give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical appearance use these drugs illegally. Steroids come in tablets or liquid form.
Anabolic steroids are taken orally or injected, and athletes and other abusers take them typically in cycles of weeks or months, rather than continuously, in patterns called cycling. Cycling involves taking multiple doses of steroids over a specific period of time, stopping for a period, and starting again. In addition, users frequently combine several different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing negative effects, a process known as stacking. Anabolic Steroids are a Schedule III substance.
OxyContin (oxycodone HCI controlled-release) is the brand name for an opioid analgesic pain releiver-- a narcotic. It is available by prescription only and is used to treat moderate to severe pain when around-the-clock analgesic is needed for an extended period of time.
OxyContin is available in tablet form in 5 doses: 10, 20, 40, 80, and 160mg. As pain medication, OxyContin is taken every 12 hours because the tablets contain a controlled, time-release formulation of the medication. Most pain medications must be taken every three to six hours. Oxycontin abusers remove the sustained-release coating to get a rapid release of the medication, causing a rush of euphoria similar to heroin.
Oxycontin is a Schedule II substance.
More information regarding these and other controlled substances can be found: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/concern.htm