Forensic services

Trace drug analysis

The MSA laboratory is accredited through UKAS to analyse banknotes, mobile telephones, vehicles, clothing, and other personal items for the presence of a wide range of illicit drugs and diluents.

In cases where such items have been seized; MSA can provide a cost effective, reliable and efficient trace drugs analysis service.

The company has developed innovative forensic techniques, which enable the rapid, simultaneous detection of a range of drugs on seized items without any requirements for sample preparation, or damage to the exhibit.

Unlike most other laboratories, MSA has built up extensive databases of the amounts of drugs typically found on a wide range of items. The amount of drugs detected on seized banknotes, mobile telephones, vehicles, and clothing is compared and contrasted with the amount of drugs detected on these items when taken from the general population e.g. in the case of banknotes comparisons are made with banknotes taken during legitimate financial transactions, such as money from a Bank, shop, Casino etc.

MSA’s experts report their opinions as to whether or not the findings from the seized items differ significantly from what is expected in the general population. In the event that significant differences are reported, the Court is able to consider how the contamination may have arisen. One obvious possibility being that highly contaminated items have been closely involved with quantities of drugs.

The list of drugs MSA experts can target grows all the time, frequently requested drugs and related materials include;

  • Cocaine
  • Diamorphine
  • MDMA
  • THC
  • Amphetamine
  • Ketamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Benzocaine
  • Procaine
  • Lidocaine
  • BZP
  • Caffeine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone

MSA is the only laboratory which attempts to put trace drugs evidence found on banknotes, mobile telephones, clothing, and vehicles into context; going beyond a simple reporting of detection to determining the significance of the finding of drugs.
Trace drugs evidence has been provided by MSA in thousands of successful cases throughout the UK.

For more detailed information, please click on our Banknotes, Mobile Telephones, Vehicles, Clothing & Other items pages.


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