Review Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 3, P493-507, September 2012

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Principles and Procedures in Forensic Toxicology

      Forensic toxicology concerns the application of toxicology to situations that may have medicolegal review, and as a consequence, results must stand up to scrutiny in a court of law.
      The Forensic Toxicology Council
      What is forensic toxicology?.
      There are primarily three subdisciplines of forensic toxicology:
      • 1
        Postmortem toxicology, more recently referred to as death investigation toxicology.
      • 2
        Behavioral or human performance toxicology, which concerns
        • a
          Impaired driving as a result of alcohol and/or drugs consumption.
        • b
          Drug-facilitated sexual assault cases.
        • c
          Doping control. Screening of athletes for performance-enhancing substances is monitored by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
          United States Anti-Doping Agency
          The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list.
          In this category must be included equine and canine toxicology testing, because entire laboratories are dedicated to this specific purpose.
      • 3
        Forensic workplace drug testing or drug urinalysis, which is performed as a preemployment and/or random monitoring of employees for illicit drugs or court-ordered testing of convicted drug offenders.
      • Forensic Toxicology is composed of Postmortem Toxicology, Human Performance Toxicology and Drug Urinalysis.
      • Forensic Toxicology results have the potential of being scrutinized in court; as a result, testing is more comprehensive, with greater emphasis on specificity and accuracy in identifying potential toxicants.
      • Conclusions about postmortem results must be made after considering all aspects of a case, including medical records, matrices analyzed, drug interactions, drug tolerance, postmortem interval, and the like.


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