Controlled Substance


The Controlled Substance Unit analyzes a variety of evidence for the presence or absence of controlled substances. Controlled substances specifically refer to those compounds listed in the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, Chapter 961 of the Wisconsin statutes.  Controlled substance evidence may be in many forms including but not limited to powders, plant materials, and pharmaceutical preparations.  Quality requirements for the Controlled Substance Unit rely heavily on validated standards and/or literature references to support the identification of substances. Controlled Substance Units are located in all three Bureau locations: Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau. To support the unit, there are fifteen Controlled Substance positions.


For more information about the types of controlled substance analysis performed refer here.


As of July 17, 2017 the WSCLB will permit law enforcement officers to perform their own field tests at the WSCLB.  For more information please see this announcement.


A reference for Controlled Substance Evidence Submission Guidelines is also available.



Controlled Substance : Caseload and Case Type


In 2016 the Controlled Substance Unit saw an 11% increase in cases submitted for analysis.  Training of new analysts and the rise in case submissions affected the overall turnaround time.  As demonstrated in the graph to the below, 95% of the caseload in the Unit are possession of a controlled substance.  Additionally, in 2016 homicide cases contributed to 3% of the Unit's caseload.



Controlled Substance : Drug Analysis Frequency


Below is a summary of the drugs that are encountered most frequently in the Controlled Substance Unit in 2016.  The data was extracted from the WSCLB reports to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Of note, a case submission may include multiple drugs and therefore, some cases are counted multiple times.  Since 2011 (table below) there has been a significant increase in the frequency of heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl and a corresponding decrease in THC and cocaine.






For more information about the types of controlled substance analysis performed refer here.