When it comes to prosecuting any type of drug case judges rely on our crime labs everyday. That's because lab chemists analyze and test the different types of drugs to verify evidence that will be used in court. Every year lab officials say they receive more and more cases. In about 14 years the case load has nearly doubled from twenty thousand to fourty thousand.
For years now the state crime labs have been extremely behind. In some cases judges have had to postpone court dates or even worse dismiss cases because evidence was not back from the lab. But in the past six months the labs have found themselves under the microscope for a change.
The Lieutenant Governor ordered they get back on track and eliminate the backlog. In the past six months chemists at the state's Central Forensic Laboratory in Frankfort have been working extra long hours. The lab says they are caught up on all drug cases except meth. Leaders say meth is the most time consuming of all drugs to examine. It is also one of the mostly costly to analyze. They are also having a difficult time with meth since the number of meth cases being sent the lab has grown rapidly.
Right now the lab will have results analyzed within two months, which is much quicker than before. They hope to keep the backlog under control as long as possible. But they are expecting their largest caseload yet this year. If the drug problem keeps growing as expected they will need more staff. And state leaders are skeptical as to whether that will happen with the ongoing budget problems.