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Backlog of evidence delaying drug case prosecution

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A backlog of evidence awaiting testing at N.C. State's crime lab is delaying prosecution of drug cases.

State officials say part of the reason is there isn't enough scientists to test seized substances and there's around 10,000 blood samples to be tested.

The Department of Justice and attorney general have asked the state for more resources and staffing.

The General Assembly approved 19 new toxicology scientist positions, but filling the posts and training new hires could take up to two years.

State salaries for the scientists are lower compared to private or public labs, making it hard for the SBI to retain employees.

Several counties are allocating funding for chemists to analyze evidence instead of relying on the SBI.

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