Forensic toxicology is the study of drugs and chemical substances in bodily fluids and their effect on the body. Forensic toxicologists rely on techniques from other areas of forensics in order to form conclusions. For example, many of the instruments familiar to forensic chemists are used by toxicologists: gas chromotagraphes, liquid chromatographes, mass spectrometers, and assays, to name a few. However, toxicologists can also use observations of witnesses or his or her own personal observations to understand whether a person may be influenced by a drug. Such experts are common in DUI/DWI cases, where a jury and a judge must determine whether a person’s mental faculties were impaired.
- The age-old question: how many drinks is drunk?
- The Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) provides networking for toxicology experts.
- DUI cases will usually involve a breath-alcohol test, a urine test, or a blood draw. These are all governed by administrative codes.
Emily Lennert with the UCF National Center for Forensic Science regularly reviews journal articles related to forensic science. Those reviews can be found here with the accompanying citation to the journal article for further reading.
Inspection of Toxicology Bench Notes
Fentanyl: Toxicity and Counterfeit Tablets – Honorable Frederick Lauten , Carol Burkett, Dina Swanson, and Frederic Whitehurst
Analytical Protocol Development for Rapid Detection of Adulterants in Urinalysis – Bianca Olivieri
Breath Testing Update – Laura D. Barfield
Ruth Vacha Discussing Forensic Toxicology and John Sawicki Discussing Digital Forensics