Laboratory’s role in unexplained drug deaths

Formal opening of state-of-the-art forensic centre.

A state-of-the-art forensic laboratory which plays a vital role in toxicology testing has been formally opened.

The purpose-built Moorepark laboratory was established with almost £6 million of Scottish Government funding. It carries out toxicology tests for a wide range of substances, including drugs and alcohol, when an unexplained death has occurred, providing world-leading testing capabilities for drugs services, as well as police and prosecutors.

Moorepark, which is run by Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services (SPA FS), was formally opened by Justice Secretary Angela Constance and Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Elena Whitham.

Ms Constance said:

“My sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one through drugs. While the prevention of such deaths is the top priority in our £250 million National Mission on Drugs, toxicology facilities such as Moorepark have a key role to play when, unfortunately, these tragedies do occur.

“Information gained from testing done at this new state-of-the-art facility helps to build our knowledge of drugs trends, including the emerging threat of synthetic opioids. With Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response reports and other surveillance measures, we can also increase awareness of drug supply so services can be targeted at harm reduction.

“Post-mortem toxicologists also play a vital role in helping to detect crime and, very importantly, in providing answers in the sad circumstances where loved ones have passed away suddenly or unexpectedly.”

Fiona Douglas, Director of Forensic Services, Scottish Police Authority, said:

“This £5.9 million investment in the new Moorepark Laboratory and highly skilled scientists and staff secures the future of the Post Mortem Toxicology service in Scotland.

“Bringing post-mortem toxicology into forensic services allows us to enhance the drugs information we provide to support the work of the Drugs Harm Taskforce.”


Scottish Government funding enabled the transition of post-mortem toxicology forensic services from the University of Glasgow to the SPA FS, securing the future of the service.


Media enquiries

Back to top