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unknown compositions. Health issues and medical complications common to most narcotic abusers are the result of adulterants, contaminants, and/or nonsterile injection practices.
Skin, lung, and brain abscesses, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), hepatitis, and AIDS are prevalent
among narcotic abusers. The composition and purity of illegally manufactured drugs is always in question. Therefore, the
physiological effects are inconsistent and unpredictable and can be fatal in some cases. Physical signs of narcotic overdose
include constricted (pinpoint) pupils, cold clammy skin, confusion, convulsions, severe drowsiness, and respiratory distress.
The question of analogs is often encountered in trials involving either drugs or drug-related crimes. It is often asked if a
specific chemical is an analog of a scheduled controlled substance. A substance is considered an analog of another substance if:
1. Both substances are structurally similar.
2. Both substances have the same chemical reactivity.
3. Both substances have similar physiological effects.
4. Both substances have similar toxicological effects.
5. Both substances have similar addictive natures.
The two substances must satisfy at least two of the above conditions to be considered analogs. For example, pseudoephedrine is structurally similar to methamphetamine and is used as a precursor in its production. However, pseudoephedrine does
not have the same reactivity or physiological and toxicological effects as methamphetamine. Thus, pseudoephedrine is not an
analog of methamphetamine.
Bufotenine and psilocin are analogs; note the similarity in structures.
The classification of a particular substance as an illegal drug, controlled substance, or designer drug is based on its molecular
structure (structural formula). In an effort to circumvent these legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the structure
of existing drugs (legal and illegal) to produce analogs known as designer drugs. For example, MDMA (street name: ecstasy)
was “designed” from MDA in an effort to evade the laws and regulations controlling MDA.
The most common types of designer-drug analogs are phencyclidine (PCP), fentanyl and meperidine (synthetic analgesics),
and the stimulants/hallucinogens amphetamine and methamphetamine. Designer drugs are often much stronger and more toxic
than their precursor counterparts, and brain damage is possible with only a single dose. The federal government has passed legislation regulating all chemicals that are structurally similar to controlled drugs. These laws are designed to stop observed patterns of
designer-drug production and usage.
Isomers are compounds that have the same number and types of atoms (same chemical formula) but differ in the structural
arrangement of the atoms. Isomers have different chemical and physical properties. There are several types of isomers, and
the differences are indicated in the name of the isomer.
Structural: Compounds with the same molecular formula but a different connectivity of atoms (different structures).
Positional: Compounds with the same molecular formula but differing in the position/location of an atom or functional
Stereoisomers: Compounds with the same molecular formula and same connectivity but differing in the arrangement of
atoms in the three-dimensional space.
Diastereomers: Compounds with the same molecular formula that are not mirror images of each other.
Enantiomers: Compounds with the same molecular formula that are nonsuperimposable mirror images of one another. They must
contain at least one chiral carbon, a carbon bound to four different atoms or groups. The nonsuperimposable mirror images
are differentiated by their ability to rotate plane-polarized light and designated as d or l. The d- and l-forms of methamphetamine are an example.
Controlled Substance Statutes
Controlled Substances Act
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulates five classes of drugs in the United States: narcotics, depressants, stimulants,
hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids. Each class has distinguishing properties, and the drugs within each class often produce
similar effects. However, all controlled substances, regardless of class, share a number of common features.
With the exception of anabolic steroids, most alter mood, thought, and feelings by targeting the central nervous system
(brain and spinal cord). Drug abuse occurs when drugs are used in a manner (or amount) inconsistent with either the medical or social patterns of use in a particular culture. In legal terms, the nonsanctioned use of substances controlled in
Schedules I through V of the CSA is considered drug abuse. Drugs classified in the CSA can be used legally for medical
treatment under the supervision of a licensed physician; however, the use of these same drugs (or intended use) outside the
clinical setting is drug abuse.
Controlled Substances Laws
The production, transportation, distribution, prescription, possession, and consumption of all narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids are strictly controlled and regulated. The controlled substances laws impose
mandatory penalties (fines or imprisonment) on any individual or entity engaged in illegal activity relating to drugs classified
in the CSA. The severity of the penalty depends on the quantity and type of controlled substances and may vary from state
to state. A few of the drugs regulated by CSA are listed below under the appropriate schedule.
184.108.40.206 Schedule I
Drugs with a high potential for abuse and little to no medicinal value fall under schedule I (typically hallucinogens).
1. Cocaine base
2. Codeine base
4. Heroin and other opiates not listed in schedule II
6. Marijuana or its psychoactive ingredient (tetrahydrocannabinol)
8. Mescaline, including peyote plant and its components
9. Morphine derivatives
(a) Synthetic analogs: All:
• Bufotenine: Pure form or present in:
– Yopo seeds
– Toadstool mushrooms
– Bufo toads
• Psilocin/psilocybin: Pure form or in mushrooms.
220.127.116.11 Schedule II
Drugs with an equal potential for abuse and medicinal use fall under schedule II (generally stimulants).
1. Barbiturates (most analogs)Cocaine: all salts
5. Opium (raw, extracts, derivatives, and any opiates not listed in schedule I)
6. PCC (a precursor to PCP)
Controlled Substance Submission to Crime Laboratories
7. Phenethylamine family:
(a) Amphetamine, its salts and isomers
(b) Methamphetamine, its salts and isomers
(c) N,N-dimethylamphetamine, its salts and isomer
(d) Phenyl-2-propanone (P2P)
(f) All analogs of phenethylamine
18.104.22.168 Schedule III
Drugs with less potential for abuse and more for medicinal use fall under schedule III (most anabolic steroids and depressants, some stimulants and prescription drugs).
1. Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and salts
3. Lysergic acid
4. Most anabolic steroids
22.214.171.124 Schedule IV
Drugs with a low potential for abuse and a high potential for medicinal use fall under schedule IV (typically depressants not
listed in schedule III). Many prescription drugs are included in this category, as are precursors used in the manufacturing of
1. Atropine sulfate
126.96.36.199 Schedule V
This schedule contains chemicals and precursors typically used in the manufacturing of controlled substances. There is considerable overlap between this category and regulated substances.
1. Barbituric acid, a precursor to barbiturates
2. Phenylpropanolamine, a precursor to amphetamine
3. Piperidine, a precursor to PCC
4. d-Lysergic acid, a precursor to LSD
5. Ephedrine/pseudoephedrine and its salts, precursors to methamphetamine
6. Safrol, a chemical used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine
7. Gamma hydroxybutyrolactone (GBL), a precursor to GHB
8. Hydroiodic acid, a chemical used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine
Controlled Substance: Charges and Offenses
The charges listed in Table 5.1 are taken from the State of California Health and Safety Codes.
Controlled Substance Submission to Crime Laboratories
Controlled substances are submitted to forensic laboratories from law-enforcement agencies in the local vicinity. Specially
trained law-enforcement personnel follow the case-submission policies of the forensic laboratory. In general, all case evidence
is sent to the laboratory in sealed and labeled bags or envelopes. The bags or envelopes will contain all agency-related case
information, such as the suspect’s name, agency name and case number, date of crime, and the quantity of suspected
Table 5.1 Controlled substance: charges and offenses
Possession of specified controlled substance (schedule I)
Possession or purchase for sale of specified controlled substance (schedule I)
Possession or purchase for sale of cocaine base
Importing, selling, transporting, and or furnishing controlled substance (schedule I)
Adult including minor to violate provisions (schedule I)
Penalty enhancement for adult soliciting minor
Adult providing controlled substance in a specified area (schedule I)
Drug trafficking on or within 1,000 ft. of school ground – penalty enhancement (schedule I)
Substances provided in lieu of controlled substance
Unauthorized possession of marijuana
Unauthorized planting of marijuana
Unauthorized possession of marijuana for sale
Unauthorized selling, transporting, importing, selling, furnishing of marijuana
Adult employing minor or selling to minor
Felony offense for bigger quantity of marijuana
Medical use of marijuana
California Marijuana Research Program
Planting, cultivating, processing peyote
Possession of devices (paraphernalia) for injecting or smoking controlled substance
Drug paraphernalia for sale
Unlawfully providing drug paraphernalia
Presence where controlled substance unlawfully smoked
Possession of specified controlled substance (schedule II)
Possession or purchase for sale of specified controlled substance (schedule II)
Possession for sale of PCP
Importing, selling, transporting, and/or furnishing controlled substance (schedule II)
Possession for sale of ketamine
Importing, selling, transporting, furnishing PCP
Manufacturing or processing controlled substance
Penalty enhancement for manufacturing or processing controlled substance
Penalty enhancement for possessing controlled substance
Drug violation in public parks and beaches
Possession of chemicals, precursors, solvents, and/or glassware for manufacturing of a controlled substance
Drug Cases in Crime Laboratories
The property section of the crime laboratory receives drug-related case information from client agencies via mail, UPS, or
personal courier. They are responsible for logging case information into a database that generates a laboratory case number.
All evidence is labeled with the designated laboratory case number and stored in a case-examination locker.
The case-examination locker is accessible to all analysts in the forensic-chemistry section. Prior to either examination or
opening of a case, the analyst compares the computer entries to the information on the evidence package. This extra step
minimizes data-entry errors and ensures that the analyst has the correct case evidence.
Following the data-entry review, the analysts open a case. The initial activity of the forensic chemist is strictly inventory. All
evidence is carefully recovered from its packaging, weighed, and visually inspected. If a case contains more than one item, the
analyst examines one item at a time to avoid cross-contamination. The forensic chemist then performs testing on suspected controlled substances. A detailed record of all activities is kept at each stage of the examination. When the examination of the evidence is complete, the analyst reseals the evidence, initials and dates the seal, and places the evidence in the outgoing evidence
locker for release to the submitting agency. Forensic laboratories do not store evidence, including controlled substances, after
completing their examination.