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Illicit Drugs

Illicit Drugs

The battle against illicit drugs


As the Western Australian Government’s chemical and forensic science facility, we lead the field in the identification, analysis and reporting of illicit drugs and emerging synthetic drugs at ChemCentre. In fact, we liaise closely with state, federal and international government agencies, providing the scientific resources and expertise they need to combat the use and manufacture of illicit drugs.

From analysing illicit drugs to clandestine labs

We provide chemical and analytical support to WA Police in two key drug-related areas: analysis of all suspected illicit and synthetic drug seizures made by police; and attending clandestine drug laboratories (‘clan labs’) across Western Australia.

Our expert team of forensic scientists is responsible for assessing every clandestine lab attended by the police, providing scientific advice to minimise hazards to officers and the surrounding community. Our scientists work to identify chemicals present and assist in the removal of chemicals from the site, followed by laboratory analysis of all seized chemicals.

Read more about our clandestine laboratory risk assessment services.

Experts across the illicit and synthetic spectrum

Our scientists also identify and quantify seizures of illicit drugs. This includes ‘traditional’ illicit drugs, such as cannabis, amphetamines, heroin and cocaine, as well as emerging synthetic drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones (‘bath salts’) and other amphetamine-type drugs.

In Western Australia, we work closely with WA Police, WA Health and other authorities to provide reports on synthetic and illicit drug trends and patterns, including purities and contaminants, with our scientists regularly providing expert testimony in legal proceedings.

Pioneering illicit drug analysis and detection

Our work with police agencies, combined with the partnership between our Workplace Drug Testing Unit and Illicit Drugs teams, puts us at the forefront of testing for new emerging drugs, including synthetic ‘designer’ drugs.

We have also combined our forensic capabilities with IT development, developing drug profiling database services to help national and international policing authorities develop intelligence on the movement and trafficking of illicit and synthetic drugs.

Learn more about our forensic science services.

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