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Controlled Substances. What is a controlled substance?. Drugs. “Controlled substance” is a legal term referring specifically to substances controlled by federal or state laws. Possession of a controlled substance for personal use is at least a misdemeanor on the first offense.

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what is a controlled substance
What is a controlled substance?

Drugs

“Controlled substance” is a legal term referring specifically to substances controlled by federal or state laws.

Possession of a controlled substance for personal use is at least a misdemeanor on the first offense.

what is a controlled substance3
What is a controlled substance?

Drugs

Used interchangeably with “drug of abuse” but some drugs of abuse are not illegal, e.g., caffeine.

controlled substances act 1970
Controlled Substances Act, 1970

Drugs

Established legal definitions for drugs

Set up five schedules for classification of drugs and penalties for each.

controlled substances act 19705
Controlled Substances Act, 1970

Drugs

Five Schedules:

  • Schedule I drugs carry the most severe penalties; considered to have a “high potential for abuse” and have “no accepted medical use”
  • Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse but have an accepted medical use
  • Schedules III – V have an accepted medical use and decrease in potential for abuse
types of drugs
Types of Drugs

Drugs

Naturally Occurring: Marijuana, Cocaine, Morphine, Codeine, Psilocybin/Psilocin

Synthetic: Phencyclidine (PCP), Amphetamines, Barbiturates

Semisynthetic: (prepared chemically from a natural substance) Heroin, LSD

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Drugs

Marijuana

Legal Definition:

  • all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resins; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt derivative, mixture or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted there from) fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination
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Drugs

Marijuana

Occurrence: Orient origin; now grows worldwide

Active Ingredients: cannabinoids, primarily THC (tetrahydrocannibinol)

Legal/Scientific Issues: definition of hashish; >1 species of Cannabis

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Drugs

Cocaine

“Coca leaves and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation thereof…”

Legal Definition:

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Drugs

Cocaine

Occurrence: coca plant grows at high elevations (Andes mountains of Bolivia Columbia), rarely found in pure form in U.S.

Legal/Scientific Issues: numerous isomers, classified as narcotic, high income for abusers (better legal defense)

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Drugs

Heroin

Legal Definition

  • Covered under “opium derivatives, their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation”
  • May also be called diacetylmorphine
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Drugs

Heroin

Occurrence: most are hot, dry Middle Eastern Countries

Legal/Scientific Issues: Usually none, quantity for scientific analysis sometimes an issue

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Drugs

Phencyclidine (PCP)

Legal definition:

  • PCP, its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers

Two of its precursors are also controlled because synthesis of PCP from these precursors is a trivial matter

PCP is Schedule II, but some of its analogs are Schedule I

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Drugs

Phencyclidine (PCP)

Occurrence: once used as an animal tranquilizer; called “angel dust”; may appear as an adulterant

Legal/Scientific Issues: Must know chemistry, preparation, precursors, and analogs; Must show that PCP was made or goal was to make PCP for clandestine labs

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Drugs

LSD (lysergic acid diethlyamide)

Legal definition

  • Salts, isomers, salts of isomers
  • Schedule I “hallucinogenic substances”
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Drugs

LSD (lysergic acid diethlyamide)

Occurrence: derived from lysergic acid found in the ergot fungus (grows on certain rye plants); found on blotter paper, gel caps, sugar cubes, etc.

Legal/Scientific Issues: small amount = difficult to analyze; presence of interfering substances (purification necessary)

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Drugs

Amphetamines

Legal definition

  • Schedule II “stimulant” section
  • Covers amphetamine, methamphetamine, and their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers
  • Precursors also controlled
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Drugs

Amphetamines

Occurrence: many different forms, legal (prescription or OTC) and illegal

Legal/Scientific Issues: large number of isomers and derivatives, clandestine labs

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Drugs

Barbiturates

Legal definition

  • Many different derivatives of barbituric acid with a wide variety of effects
  • Can be found in Schedules II – V
  • Some in Schedule V can be obtained legally with a prescription
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Drugs

Barbiturates

Occurrence: Normally found in tablets or capsules, legally and illegally

Legal/Scientific Issues: Identification of exact derivative

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Drugs

Psilocybin and Psilocin

Legal definition

  • Schedule I “hallucinogens”
  • The mushrooms are not controlled federally, just the substances derived from them.
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Drugs

Psilocubin and Psilocin

Occurrence: found in a number of mushrooms, usually not extracted from the mushrooms before being sold

Legal/Scientific Issues: Identification and extraction from mushroom

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Drugs

Mescaline (peyote)

Legal Definition

  • Schedule I “hallucinogen”
  • Derived from plant Lophophora williamsii (cactus)
  • Both mescaline and the plant it comes from are controlled
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Drugs

Mescaline (peyote)

Occurrence: Found on street as peyote buttons which are eaten, occasionally extracted as powder

Legal/Scientific Issues: Identification and extraction

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Drugs

Summary

  • Identifying controlled substances is a basic function of forensic laboratories.
  • The responsibility usually falls to a forensic chemist.
  • The scope of analyses usually only falls within the categories of drugs that are controlled by laws and statutes, i.e., in the context of a crime.