Drug and alcohol testing

ESR's laboratories provide the NZ Police, Customs, other organisations, and individuals with extensive drug and alcohol analytical services.

ESR scientists routinely test for the presence of alcohol, illicit drugs and related materials. Our extensive expertise across the spectrum of drugs, alcohol and poisons means that we can provide additional intelligence regarding composition, source and trends. Our forensic laboratories are accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to the international standard of ISO/IEC 17025. ANAB(external link) provides accreditation services to public and private sector organisations and is owned by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ESR scientist drug testing


ESR's drug testing and intelligence programme identifies drugs circulating in the community, as well as new and emerging drugs. Drug types commonly identified include cannabinoids (such as marijuana, hashish and hash oil), amphetamine type substances (such as ecstasy, methamphetamine ('P'), speed and benzylpiperazine [BZP]), opiates (such as heroin, morphine and codeine) and cocaine and benzodiazepines (such as valium, rivotril and clonazepam). Read more about the manufacture of methamphetamine and the use of clandestine laboratories 

Meth Calculator

The Meth Calculator is a tool to help interpret the methamphetamine readings supplied by your methamphetamine testing company. It helps give some perspective to the levels of contamination being observed and the potential cause based on current research. Find out more about ESR's Meth Calculator

Blood/alcohol testing

ESR analyses blood samples taken from drivers suspected of driving whilst impaired by drugs and alcohol, and can provide an estimate of a blood alcohol concentration at the time of a specific incident. Listen to Radio NZ learn about how ESR tests blood alcohol levels(external link).


Our Forensic Toxicology team works closely with the NZ Police, Coroners and Pathologists to undertake analyses related to their investigations. When a death or alleged criminal act has occured, our scientists analyse biological specimens such as blood, urine, liver and stomach contents, to determine the potential involvement of drugs and/or poisons. 

Workplace drug testing

Everyone has the right to go home safely after a day's work. ESR’s workplace drug and alcohol testing detects certain drugs, or their metabolites, in urine samples and may indicate that an employee’s ability to carry out their duties safely is compromised, presenting a danger not only to the employee but also potentially to work colleagues and the public. We can work with clients from any sector or organisation to test for drugs that impair performance including alcohol, illicit drugs and certain legal drugs. Our procedures are accredited by International Accreditation New Zealand to AS/NZS 4308:2008 ‘Procedures for specimen collection and the detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine’. Find out more about this service.