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Drug lab tests 10,000th sample

New psychoactive drugs and chemically concealed compounds have been among the thousands of suspected drug samples tested at a rapid screening lab near Auckland Airport.

Today the joint Customs/ESR Screening Laboratory (CESL) analysed its 10,000th suspected drug sample.

Following a Customs interception, where the substance can’t be identified, the samples are tested by ESR scientists who then provide almost real-time advice to front-line Customs staff, so they’re better equipped to undertake their role at the border.

“The speed that we can analyse and identify drugs has enabled Customs to seize a large number of new and emerging illicit substances that might otherwise have remained unknown using standard testing methods,” says ESR CESL Manager, Matthew Russell.

“It also means we can monitor drug trends and alert agencies to any potential risks allowing for a quick and coordinated response.”

Customs Northern Ports Manager Mark O’Toole says CESL continues to demonstrate considerable benefits by helping to identify unknown commodities at the border.

“If there are new or emerging drugs being sent to New Zealand, we’re likely to see this at the border first. This makes CESL an important part of building on our intelligence capabilities.

“It also gives Customs officers better knowledge of what they’re dealing with, so they’re better equipped to do their work in a safe way with the right health and safety measures.”

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