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The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Forensic Sciences is to provide quality scientific, technical and administrative support to the law enforcement and intelligence communities and to the criminal justice system at large, to assist with the enforcement of controlled substance laws and regulations of the United States. The DEA Laboratory System provides scientific support to DEA Special Agents and other law enforcement personnel. This encompasses a wide variety of duties and forensic disciplines, including analysis of suspected controlled substances and related substances, crime scene investigation, latent fingerprint identification and photographic development, analysis and evaluation of digital (computer) evidence, development, monitoring, and processing of hazardous waste cleanups at clandestine laboratory investigations and disposals, and expert witness testimony. Typically, controlled substances analyses consists of two steps. The first step involves a qualitative analysis in which controlled substances are identified, as well as other non-controlled components. The other step involves determining the amount of controlled substance present, i.e., its purity. The Fingerprint and Photography Program provide forensic fingerprint services to complement drug law enforcement operations. Computer Forensic Examiners recover information of probative value from computers and magnetic storage media (diskettes, tapes and data cartridges).

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Forensics lab image

Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG)

SWGDRUG works to improve the quality of the forensic examination of seized drugs and to respond to the needs of the forensic community by supporting the development of internationally accepted minimum standards, identifying best practices within the international community, and providing resources to help laboratories meet these standards.

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United States Drug Enforcement Administration DEA.gov is an official site of the U.S. Department of Justice