The proliferation of prescription drugs, designer drugs and self-manufactured narcotics has created new logistical challenges for law enforcement charged with managing the chain of custody in criminal cases. Custodial responsibilities are not limited to the storage of evidence, however. Law enforcement officials authorized to inventory, verify and safeguard chemical and plant-based narcotics must be protected from fumes, molds, yeasts, spores and other byproducts of illicit materials.
Procedures for safe handling and proper storage of evidence collected in drug investigations are crucial for law enforcement offices. Up-to-date safety measures are particularly for employees in charge of receiving, storing, retrieving or inventorying drug evidence.
Evidence rooms can become contaminated over time by fumes, odors or airborne particulates/pathogens from confiscated substances, particularly when drug evidence is stored in stacked boxes and bags located in musty basements with poor ventilation.
Police department employees face possible health effects from exposure to the following in drug investigation evidence:
- Volatile chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs or to mask the odor of drugs
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including terpenes, chemicals produced by plants that contribute to the taste and smell
- Drug particulates, including narcotics and prescription painkillers.
- Pathogenic and toxigenic mold, including Aspergillus, commonly found as powdery mildew on marijuana plants, and Chaetomium mold, which can be found growing in soil or on decaying marijuana plant matter
To protect employees from harmful emissions, departments should implement the use of storage cabinets that are specifically designed for the safe short-term storage of confiscated hazardous drugs and drug-related chemicals.
The Drugkeeper™ Storage Cabinet from Air Science® is professionally designed to minimize the health and environmental risks of handling chemical vapors and residues, VOCs and other materials associated with drug evidence. The storage cabinets use ductless technology with industry-leading Multiplex™ Filtration System to isolate and trap harmful chemical vapors and prevent release into the environment. The use of optional HEPA filters eliminates exposure to biological particulates, including bacteria and mold spores.
The compact design of the Drugkeeper, a variety of standard cabinet sizes and ductless technology that does not require outside venting make it an easy choice for departments low on storage space. Learn more about the benefits of this economical, safe storage solution for police and law enforcement offices in our brief, "Evidence Storage: Minimize Health and Environmental Risks."