New Mexico

Department of Public Safety

Keeping New Mexico Safer Through Safe Roads and Safer Communities

Controlled Substance Analysis Unit

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratory Bureau currently has established Controlled Substance Analysis Units located in the Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Hobbs forensic laboratories for the purpose of providing analysis and identification of any controlled substance present in submitted evidence. Additionally, the Las Cruces Controlled Substance Unit performs methamphetamine purity analysis for the entire state of New Mexico.

Processing Methods

Through the use of chemical and instrumental analyses, the forensic scientists identify the presence of controlled substances in submitted evidence. Common evidence generally consists of assorted powders, crystals, tablets, capsules, liquids, or plant materials. Scientists utilize a battery of screening chemical and chromatographic tests to determine whether controlled substances may be present in items submitted as evidence. Positive identifications of controlled substances are achieved using Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). The predominant drugs submitted are methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

Additional Services

Controlled Substance examiners provide expert testimony regarding their findings, in the courts throughout our state. They provide instruction regarding recommended collection and preservation of evidence to better provide assistance to law enforcement agencies as requested.

Helpful Hints

  • Never submit evidence, such as syringes, with the needle still intact. The needles will not be accepted into the laboratory.
  • Always attempt to dry suspected marijuana thoroughly. Never seal the evidence in plastic bags while wet or moist to avoid mold growth and potentially damage the evidence.
  • Never mail liquid chemical samples of meth labs. Cases of this type must be submitted in person.