What is Toxicology? • Toxicology is analyzing biological fluids and tissues for the presence of drugs and poisons and quantifying any substances found.
Roles of a Toxicologist • Must determine one of thousands of drugs. • To find metabolites of desired chemicals (ex- heroine breaks down into morphine within seconds.)
What aspect of Toxicology is especially useful in forensic science? Being able to analyze pharmaceuticals/ foods in cases where tampering is suspected. For example: • Cases where someone has overdosed. • Rape/ Murder cases where the victim was drugged. • Suicide cases where patients have taken a medicine that have a depression side-effect. • Drunk-driving incidents.
Difficulty in determining the substance… • The break down and lack of oxygen to cells. • The bacteria that multiples in bodies may produce alcohol, changing the results by increasing the apparent blood-alcohol level. • Bodily fluids are excreted.
Color Testing • Usually the first technique used. • When a drug is put in contact with a specific chemical reagent the reagent will change colors. • Examples: • Marquis test turns purple is the presence of heroine. • Scott test turns blue in the presence • of cocaine • Duquenois-Levine turns purple in the • presence of marijuana.
Autopsy • During an autopsy tissues, organs, and bodily fluids are analyzed. • Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is probably the most accurate way to analyze these. • CE uses conductive liquid • under an electric field to • separate substances on their size and charge ratio.
Why • US drug manufactures produce enough pharmaceuticals to supply every American with 40 pills a piece. • 18,000 out of the annual 40,000 traffic deaths are alcohol related.