Drug Analysis

The Drug Analysis Department is responsible for the analysis of evidentiary items to establish the presence, identity and quantity of controlled substances.  In cases involving the possession, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances, laboratory analysis is often a major element of the case. Chemical spot tests, published reference materials, and/or microscopic analyses may be used as indicative or screening tests. These tests are performed prior to confirmatory testing through scientific instrumentation. The department has a wide array of instrumentation including: Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR). These types of instrumentation are utilized for confirmatory testing prior to the issuance of a laboratory report. The Drug Analysis Department conducts quantitative analysis of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in plant material to distinguish between marijuana and industrial hemp.

The Drug Analysis Department conducts analysis on non-biological submissions only. The analysis of biological samples such as bodily fluids or tissue samples for controlled substances is performed by the Toxicology Department.

The Drug Analysis Department provides:

  • Qualitative analysis to determine the presence, identity and aggregate quantity or absence of controlled substances
  • Clandestine laboratory sample analysis
  • Quantitative analysis of THC in cannabis and cannabis products
  • Expert witness courtroom testimony in the field of Forensic Drug Analysis¬†

Various South Carolina statutes and regulations impact this department’s work. Drug Analysis reports reflect the proper controlled substance scheduling under applicable South Carolina and/or Federal statutes. The duties of SLED in matters related to controlled substances are detailed in Section 44-53-120, 1976 South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended. Regulations 73-70 through 73-150 of the South Carolina Code of Regulations sets forth regulations concerning the uniform procedures for the handling of controlled substances. Rule 6 (Rule for Chemical Analysis and Chain of Custody) of the South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure also impacts this department. If the requirements of Rule 6 are met, a laboratory report concerning controlled substances may be accepted in court without the presence of the chemist.

Customer Notices and Forms

SLED Drug Analysis Request Form
2024-01 Customer Notice Drug Analysis Submissions from Retail Cannabis Stores