Controlled Substances

Reduce drug evidence backlogs

Controlled substances present law enforcement and criminal justice professionals with large quantities of drug evidence resulting in laboratory backlogs. Challenging new synthetic designer drugs require new analytical techniques and faster turn around time—and the ability to distinguish exact identity amongst multiple drugs. Thermo Fisher Scientific™ tools provide rapid and reliable analytical power for all stages of drug identification including field use, at point of need, and in the laboratory.

Featured controlled substances products

SWGDRUG categories of analytical techniques

Analysis for controlled substances in forensic laboratories typically includes a variety of methods from presumptive testing to confirmatory analysis. Thermo Scientific offers highly sensitive solutions to help you perform your in-laboratory forensic analyses from rapid screening to accurate, high-quality confirmatory results.

SWGDRUG current guidelines (   Version 7.0, 2014 August 14) indicate "When using a Category A test at least one other A, B or C category shall be used. When Category A is not used, at least three validated techniques must be used—with at least 2 of 3 from Category B." Thermo Scientific supplies many of these analytical tools.

Our systems are designed to help eliminate sample backlog without risking quality and your integrity—while keeping you ahead of the next novel synthetic drug substance.

Category A Category B Category C
Structure Selectivity Presumptive

Controlled substance workflow

Our solutions are designed to integrate into your existing operations whether you need to optimize throughput or sensitivity, or build your lab of the future—from component to full workflow options.

Portable presumptive test

Offering in-field law enforcement representatives the accuracy and reliability of a narcotics lab anywhere they go. Narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and analgesics are easily identified using lab-proven Raman spectroscopy. 

  • Single test, multiple narcotics
  • Easy to use; no user interpretation required
  • Broad analysis capability; including key DOA, common cutting agents, precursors and emerging synthetic threats
  • Non-destructive, non-contact sampling
  • Automated data storage and report generated

The Fort Wayne Police Department has deployed the Thermo Scientific™ TruNarc™ analyzer, giving law enforcement the opportunity to identify drugs like never before. Describing TruNarc as a game changer, Fort Wayne Police Sgt. Jonathan Bowers says the analyzer gives officers rapid information on "what's being shipped in, what's being sold, what's being bought, what's being seized and what people are addicted to right now."

Watch the full video now ›

Additional resources

    Got a drug problem? Learn more about how TruNarc analyzes substances in the field, captures results and helps expedite prosecution.

Structural screening and confirmation analysis

Nicolet iS 50


GC Orbitrap

QE Focus
Analysis methods FTIR, Raman Gas chrom., Mass spec. Gas chrom., Mass spec. Mass spec.
SWGDRUG categories A: Structural A: Structural
B: Selectivity
A: Structural
B: Selectivity
B: Selectivity
Unknown profiling & Retrospective screening
Sample preparation Minimal Moderate Moderate Minimal
Sample throughput Low to medium Low to medium Medium to high
Cost $ $$ $$$ $$$
Direct inject accessories iTX ATR, GC-IR DEP/DIP DART
Confirmatory and quantitation

Confirmatory & quantitation testing instruments

  Nicolet iS 50 Triple Quadrupole Mass Spec Q Exactive Focus Mass Spec
Unknown profiling & Retrospective screening
Hook up to GC
Hook up to LC
Hook up to MS

Confirmatory & quantitation testing software

  Chromeleon CDS Software Tracefinder Software
NIST spectral library
SWGDRUG spectral library
mzCloud spectral library

Featured videos
Chromeleon 7.2 Chromatography Data System

Learn how to quickly and easily process and report UV and MS data in one application.

Additional resources

Featured videos
The Ultimate Forensics Analysis Workstation

The combination of the GC-IR Interface with our Thermo Scientific™ Nicolet ™ Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers provides a high-performance, easy-to-use approach to separation and identification. This makes it an effective tool for analyzing multi-component organic samples. Add the separation capability GC to obtain superior sensitivity.


Unity Lab Services:  Get access to our expert service team, information on support plans, parts and consumables resources, and other instrument services.