Submission FAQ
Seized Drugs

Can Seized Drugs test for all controlled substances on an
exhibit or do I have to ask for a specific substance to be targeted?

A: The FDLE will test for the presence or absence of all substances that are listed by name or controlled by any of the corresponding statute language (in any of the schedules) of Florida Statutes §893 and §877.111.  There is no need to request a test for a specific substance.

Do I have to ask for a certified weight of the substance when
I submit it to FDLE?

A: No, that is not necessary.  Before each exhibit is analyzed, the raw weight of the substance is taken with a calibrated and certified balance.  This information is archived in the record for that specific case.  In an effort to simplify the language in published reports, these values will only appear in the results when the weight eclipses a minimum threshold weight or trafficking tier.  Otherwise, analysts reference that record to convey the weight of the exhibit when asked in either depositions or trial circumstances. 

Why does FDLE only test one item?

A: Crime laboratories are rarely staffed to meet all customer wishes, so a case acceptance policy and workload management strategy is necessary.  These strategies are designed to focus on the best evidence first so it can be completed in a timely manner for our customers.  The Crime Laboratory Evidence Submission Manual outlines the strategy to achieve the highest penalty per subject.  Requests for exceptions to this strategy should be made to the regional Seized Drugs Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor.

Is it true that there are some cases that need prior approval
before I submit them?
How do I know which ones and who do I contact?

A: Yes.  For reasons which vary from safety concerns to workload  management, some Seized Drug evidence requires advanced approval from the regional Seized Drugs Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor.   Examples include evidence related to the clandestine manufacture of controlled substances, mushrooms and requests for Cannabis/Hemp testing (as defined by Florida Statute §581.217) below the volumes indicated in the Crime Laboratory Evidence Submission Manual that indicate a higher volume than possession.

When would it be okay to send multiple items without an

A: In a case with more than one subject with the associated individual clearly marked on each item of evidence and  in cases where multiple exhibits (from the same offense) contain a schedule I or II substance subject to trafficking thresholds and the combined weight of the items meets or exceeds those benchmarks.

Is the amount of drug submitted enough to cause impairment?

A: FDLE Crime Laboratory Analysts in the Seized Drugs section cannot comment or testify on whether the amount of controlled substance recovered is sufficient to cause impairment.  It is important to note that Seized Drugs does not test items of evidence such as blood and urine.  The analysis of biological specimens for the presence or absence of drinking alcohol (blood) and impairing drugs (blood & urine) is conducted by the Toxicology section. 

How much of the submitted quantity was actually the drug?

A: Seized Drugs testing identifies chemical substances but does not perform quantitative analysis to determine the amount of drug within a sample.   

My report says "No controlled substances" were present in
the evidence.
If that’s the case, then what was it?

A: The context of analysis is in reference to controlled substances that are listed by name or controlled by any of the corresponding statute language (in any of the schedules) of Florida Statutes §893 and §877.111.  The FDLE laboratory will not routinely pursue the identification of anything outside of those statutes for reporting purposes.  Many times, these exhibits are over the counter medicines, herbal supplements or even volumizing (cutting agents) powders such as caffeine or lidocaine. 

My field test indicated a positive result for cocaine, so why
does the report say ‘No controlled substances…’”?

A: Testing conducted in the field often consists of “kits” marketed to target a particular substance, such as cocaine.  These test kits are actually rarely specific to one substance to the exclusion of all other substances.  Those limitations should be communicated in the training prior to use and in literature for the test kit.   FDLE laboratory instruments and testing procedures are much more specific than field test kits and may reveal unexpected results.  Those results may or may not be controlled substances. 

Is there anything that Seized Drugs does NOT test?

A: Questions on peculiar items of evidence should be directed to the regional Seized Drugs Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor. Common items we do not analyze are explosives, incinerates and poisons. 

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.