When police seize illegal drugs, those drugs must be identified and weighed. The Indiana State Police now have an estimated 6,000 case backlog for drug analysis. Testing for cases is delayed by as much as six months, but the state’s forensics director says it’s not a problem – yet.
Indiana State Police Forensic Analysis Director Eric Lawrence says there are more drug cases filed, and new synthetic drugs are added to the list of controlled substances.
“And that in and of itself makes the analysis more complicated and more time consuming,” Lawrence says.
The state police are in the middle of a capital campaign to open three new laboratories, which should help with the backlog. But those laboratories aren’t expected to be complete until 2020.
“The problem is not so much that we currently have a six-month backlog, the problem is, is it continues to grow,” Lawrence says.
Adding to the backlog, recent changes to weight requirements for controlled substances means forensic analysts must spend more time weighing drug samples.
“So in the past, if we had a 50 sample case, we might only have to analyze two or three of those to get to the weight requirement,” Lawrence says. “Today we might have to analyze them all which means, that results in a much larger case file with several hundred pages potentially.”
Lawrence says he’s hoping for legislative changes to the weight requirements. He says the state police are also exploring other options to relieve the backlog.