(Here the term “Narcotics” refers to any drug/ chemical controlled under CNSA, 1997)
To provide thorough, accurate and timely examination of narcotics evidence for any law enforcement agency and to give expert testimony in courts.
Scope of Work
- Narcotics Unit, PFSA, proceeds with the requirements of Control of Narcotic Substances Act, 1997 (CNSA 1997).
- Narcotics Unit examines solids, powders, plant materials and liquids for the presence of controlled substances.
- Quantitative analyses are not conducted in routine cases.
- In addition to testing evidence, Narcotics Unit maintains records of the examinations and reports the results of the analyses to the submitting agencies.
- Analysts provide expert testimony in a court of law.
- Narcotics staff provides guidance and training to law enforcement personnel and other members of the criminal justice system in the areas of collection, preservation and submission of physical evidence relating to narcotics.
Hashish (Charas), Heroin, Opium and Marijuana are the most common types of drugs submitted for testing. Along with these, other samples submitted at Narcotics Unit include Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Designer Drugs, Controlled Pharmaceuticals and Drug Paraphernalia etc.
Sample Submitting Agencies
Narcotics Unit of Punjab Forensic Science Agency receives cases from Police, Anti-Narcotics Force, Pakistan Customs, Pakistan Railways Police etc.
Technical staff of Narcotics Unit comprises of Forensic Scientists and Forensic Laboratory Technicians who are fully trained in the analysis of controlled substances. Forensic analysts of Narcotics Unit also provide expert testimony in various courts of the state.
The most modern instruments e.g. GC-MS, GC-FID, FTIR, UV-Visible Spectrophotometer and Stereo-microscopes are used for the analysis of Narcotics.
The analysis of a controlled substance depends on the type of sample material submitted for analysis. Sample material can be powder, liquid, licit or illicit tablets or capsules, plant material or residue. The methods used for analysis of this array of different materials will vary with each use. A specific procedure devoted to each drug is neither reasonable nor possible with the array of different materials tested. Instead, the methods used in analysis will be specific in a general manner for use by the examiner in the analysis of a particular sample.
Controlled substance analysis consists of visual examination/inspection of evidence, weighing, sampling, and analysis by various testing techniques. Consideration should be given to each of these before performing analytical tests.
Typical analytical techniques used in the analysis of controlled substances are:
- Chemical Spot Tests (Color Tests)
- Thin-Layer Chromatography(TLC)
- UV-Visible Spectrophotometry
- Infrared Spectroscopy
- Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
The analysis of controlled substances employs a multiple testing protocol with presumptive tests followed by confirmatory tests.
Presumptive tests are screening test for preliminary identification e.g. Chemical Spot Tests (color tests), Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), UV-Visible Spectrophotometry, Pharmaceutical Identifiers (Pharmaguides) etc.
Confirmatory tests are those designed to yield results based upon the unique atomic structure of an individual molecule and therefore, be specific for individual substance e.g. Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), Infra Red Spectroscopy etc.