Packaging controlled substances and paraphernalia can be a dangerous and sometimes tedious task. It is important to know the properties of the drugs being packaged and if there are effects of improper storage when or if the drugs are handled after packaging.  Each agency and laboratory have their own guidelines for packaging, so it is important to know what guidelines have been laid out by your own specific agency.


A great way to ensure any chemicals, controlled substances or paraphernalia are properly and safely stored is to use our signature Vapor Lok Heavy Duty Barrier Pouches. These pouches are 5mil thick nylon and feature a 3-sided seal. They can be sealed with any quality heat sealer.  Always make sure your heat seal gives plenty of room for the laboratory to re-seal the bag after the substance is tested.

https://www.arrowheadforensics.com/media/catalog/product/a/-/a-2019-impulse-heat-sealers_5.jpg

 

 

IMPULSE HEAT SEALER FOR VAPOR LOK BAGS

 

 

 

 

The Vapor Lok Heavy Duty Barrier Pouches also bode a combination of films with ideal barrier properties. This can protect from potentially dangerous gases that may “leak” through the bag, such as PCP or methamphetamine. Scientific tests have shown that chemicals and gases from controlled substances are capable of breaking down or altering the packaging they’re in over time. With a thickness of 5ml (as opposed to the normal 3-4ml bag) this bag is less likely to be broken down by the substances it contains.


Also important is the airtight seal it creates, therefore eliminating the smell of controlled substances that can plague police vehicles, evidence processing rooms and evidence storage rooms for days or even months. The one caveat to this is that wet or fresh plant material should be dried before being placed into a nylon or air-tight package. This prevents mold or deterioration of the substance.


There is no need to worry about paraphernalia puncturing the Vapor Lok Heavy Duty Barrier Pouches from the inside, or other evidence stored nearby puncturing the pouches from the outside, as these pouches are puncture resistant, as well as tear resistant. This removes any cross-contamination concerns.

https://www.arrowheadforensics.com/media/catalog/product/a/-/a-6886cs-ohaus-2000g-scale.jpg

 

 

BALANCE FOR WEIGHING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

 

 

 

 

 

Another task that can be made difficult with collecting controlled substances is weighing them prior to submitting them into evidence. These pouches make it simple to weigh the items contained in them, without having to remove the substances and expose the individual to any hazards.


Make sure that the evidence you are collecting closely fits the size of the pouch you are using. This keeps any evidence from being inadvertently lost. For example, electrostatic charge causes powder to cling to plastic surfaces. If the powder is placed in a container that is too big, it can cause the powder to disperse and it is harder to gather from a larger bag when being removed for testing.


The Vapor Lok Heavy Duty Barrier Pouches come in sizes 4” x 6”, 6.5” x 8”, 8” x 10”, 8” x 12”, 12” x 16” and can be purchased in packs of 100 or cases of 1000.

 

References:
https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/cci/reference/evidence_collection.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6197103/
 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emily Lewey is a former IAI certified Crime Scene Investigator. She obtained her associate’s degree in Law Enforcement and her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration with a minor in Crime Scene Investigation from Missouri Southern State University. Emily worked for the Lee’s Summit, MO PD as their first and only CSI for 4 years, then for the Kansas City, MO PD Crime Lab for 1 and a half years before coming to Arrowhead Forensics. She worked a wide variety of scenes ranging from property crimes to homicides and is proficient in a variety of processing techniques. She continues to stay educated in the ever-changing world of forensics and crime scene work.