Introduction to Forensic Drug Chemistry


This online course serves as an introduction and basic overview of forensic drug chemistry. It covers a wide variety of topics associated with controlled substances; including history of drug control, the structure of current drug laws in the United States, history of individual drugs, and specific analytical approaches for specific sample types.

Cost: $175.00. This course takes 32 hours to complete, on average.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:  

  • Describe types of evidence submitted for drug analysis to the crime laboratory
  • Discuss history of controlled substances and corresponding laws
  • List drug classifications and schedules
  • Define marijuana, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, dissociatives, and steroids
  • Describe the difficulties associated with clandestine lab cases

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 6.12 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 32 hours. The course cost is $175.00 per registration. A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents:

Unit 1: Drug Chemistry: Overview

Unit 2: History of Controlled Substance Legislation in the US

Unit 3: Drug Classifications

Unit 4: Structure of Current Drug Laws

Unit 5: Structural Activity Relationships

Unit 6: Marijuana

Unit 7: Marijuana Analysis

Unit 8: Other Controlled Substance Analysis

Unit 9: Stimulants: Cocaine

Unit 10: Stimulants: Amphetamines

Unit 11: Other Stimulants

Unit 12: Depressants, Heroin and Other Opiates

Unit 13: Other Depressants

Unit 14: Hallucinogens: LSD

Unit 15: Hallucinogens: Psilocybe Mushrooms

Unit 16: Hallucinogens: MDMA

Unit 17: Additional Hallucinogens

Unit 18: Dissociatives

Unit 19: Anabolic Steroids

Unit 20: Clandestine Laboratories

Unit 21: Miscellaneous Topics

Unit 22:  Designer Drugs - Synthetic Cannabinoids

Unit 23:  Designer Drugs - Substituted Cathinones


All registrations must be approved by the instructor. Please fill out and submit the Instructor Approval Form, you will be notified when you are approved for registration. Registration without pre-approval may not be accepted. Please contact Samantha Neal at or (304) 293-5836 for questions.

A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to work in a forensic laboratory to take this course?

Answer: No. However, you do need to work in the forensic science field to take the course. It is not opened for the general public.

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox (recommended) or Internet Explorer
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • QuickTime
  • Macromedia Flash Player
  • Java

(Free software plug-ins are available in the Getting Started area of the course.)

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page

Instructor Information

Samantha Neal is the Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities are the development and coordination of online continuing education courses in forensic science and continuing education programs. She has undergraduate degrees in both Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Chemistry.
Contact:, 304-293-5836

Robin Bowen is the Assistant Director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops scientific resources, outreach opportunities, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of grant funded projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the author of Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science. She is a former advisory member of the Outreach and Communication Interagency Working Group (IWG) under the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC) on Forensic Science. She is also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education. Robin is the online course instructor for Ethics in Forensic Science, Fibers and Textiles for Forensic Science, and Transition to Leadership. Contact:, 304-293-6214

Registration Information 

Click on the "Register Now" button at the top to register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Check our FAQ page for refund policy and class access information.

Group Discount

We offer discounts for groups over 10. All individuals in the group need to register for the same course to take advantage of the discount. Discount rates vary by group size as follows:

  • 10-20 people 10% off
  • 21-30 people 15% off
  • 31-40 people 20% off
  • Above 40, contact for special pricing

Interested in a group discount?  Please contact the Continuing & Professional Education office at (304) 293-7570 or email us at for a coupon code.

Check our FAQ and Refund Policy for refund and class access information.


Emil ButlerAs manager of the Grayson County, Virginia Day Reporting Center, I found this course to be exactly what I needed. Most of the felons sentenced to our program have committed crimes linked to illegal drugs. They either have direct drug offenses (e.g., distribution, manufacturing), or have committed other crimes indirectly related to drug use and distribution (e.g., grand larceny, forgery, fraud). In our daily supervision of offenders, it is important that we understand the differences, sources, effects, identification, etc. of the full spectrum of drugs. This course has provided a valuable knowledge base that will be of daily benefit to my mission. I enjoyed the course, and I look forward to taking more courses in the near future. Thank you for an excellent learning program.