Drugs and Alcohol

Different types of narcotics and doping agents, as well as poisons and illegal alcohol, are identified and analyzed at NFC to determine effective substance in confiscated goods.

  • Analysis of samples in order to determine possible content of narcotics.
    Analysis of samples in order to determine possible content of narcotics. Bild: Photographer: Lars Hedelin, Communications Department
  • Leaves and stems of Cannabis Sativa.
    Leaves and stems of Cannabis Sativa. Bild: Marcus Andrae, NFC
  • NFC determines the structure of a new drug every week.
    NFC determines the structure of a new drug every week. Bild: Maria Åsén, NFC

Confiscated drugs 2018

Drug Analysis Section

  • Completed cases: 50,400 (2018)
  • Employees: 73 (December 2018)

The principal role of the Drug Analysis Section is to perform analyses, both qualitatively and quantitatively, of material suspected to contain restricted substances in four categories; narcotics, goods dangerous to health, doping substances and medicines.

Cannabis and cannabis-related products (such as hashish) account for approximately 45% of the cases which are handled by this section, followed by medical/doping substances with approximately 25%. In recent years there has been an increase of confiscated cannabis resin in relation to confiscated marijuana.

The section also carries out profiling analyses of amphetamine, hashish, heroin and cocaine (in collaboration with Denmark) in order to determine sample origin and, if possible, distribution patterns both nationally and internationally. The section addresses approximately 100 cases of poisoning every year, by analyses of food and drink products in connection with cases involving an unknown cause of death.The section also analyses illegally produced alcohol.

Number of Performed Structural Investigations

Analysis of new drugs

Designer drugs are substances which have a structure similar to narcotic compounds but have been modified to circumvent existing drug laws. At NFC structure determination of these new synthetic drugs is performed with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques. NMR is a powerful analytical  technique that provides important structural information about a molecule. In structural elucidations, this information is used in combination with other analytical techniques, which makes it possible to determine the structure of an unknown substance. Throughout 2017 we performed 47 structural investigations and around 43 in 2018. This, and the fact that the NFC is one of the laboratories that reports the largest number of new substances to the EMCDDA, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, makes us one of the leading laboratories in Europe in this field. The decrease in the number of structural investigations in Sweden follows the trend in Europe regarding new drugs.