Forensic Toxicology

Topics: Toxicology, Forensic toxicology, Poison Pages: 3 (962 words) Published: December 14, 2008
Forensic Toxicology

Forensic toxicology plays an exceptionally vital role in linking victim deaths to drug use, poisonings, and the detection of foreign chemicals and toxins in the human body. The utilization of analytical chemistry and a few chemical tests can tell investigators if the victim was under the influence of any drugs or even poisoned, by studying samples of blood, urine, hair and even bodily fluids. Forensic toxicologists detect and identify the foreign chemicals in the body, the concentration of these chemicals, and link these findings to possible drug overdose, poisoning and even suicide which help investigators greatly, as they can guide their investigation in reference to the toxicology panel. However, discovering ingested substances in the human body isn’t as easy as it seems. According to Katherine Ramsland of Court TV, “determining the substance ingested is often complicated by the bodies natural processes, as it is rare for a chemical to remain in its original form once in the body.” “For example, heroin is almost immediately metabolized into another substance and further to morphine, making detailed investigation into factors such as injection marks and chemical purity necessary to confirm diagnosis.” Overall, the collection of bodily samples, the technology of screening and confirmation tests and the detection and classification process has improved significantly in the past years, and thanks to technology, it has assisted investigators in solving some of the most complicated crimes.

In order to process a toxicology panel, it is necessary to obtain a sample from the human body. Samples can be taken in the forms of urine, blood, hair, saliva and bodily fluids such stomach contents, semen and vitreous humour from the eye. Urine samples are the easiest way of collection from a live person, and can also be collected from the deceased. They are typically utilized for on-site drug testing in employees and athletes, and sometimes used as...
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