14: Forensic Toxicology
Published:30 Jun 2016
Forensic toxicology is a subject that lies between science and medicine. This chapter explores the origins of toxicology and its application to legal proceedings. Different types of poisons are described and the many different factors that change their degree of effect on the body. Basic pharmacology terms are discussed with reference to more common drugs and their applications in forensic cases. The practical laboratory approach to forensic toxicological work is documented including details regarding instrumentation used and types of biological samples most commonly analysed and why. Suitable reports for court purposes are described with the importance of valid interpretation highlighted. The main themes of the chapter are discussed in more detail with the help of case studies including road traffic safety, alternative matrices and post-mortem toxicology. Differences in drug use trends are explored from local differences within a country to more obvious differences worldwide.