Forensic Toxicology

What is it like to be a forensic toxicologist?

The role of a forensic toxicologist in cases is multifaceted and includes sample analysis, data interpretation and reporting. This book aims to showcase how the evidence collection, and toxicology and analytical chemistry background come together to solve forensic cases.  As a result, this press book is composed of three distinct sections: Module 1 on drug classes, Module 2 on sample collection, analysis and interpretation, and Laboratory module on several toxicants and analytical methods in laboratory settings.

Module 1 will take you through various classes of toxicants, including illicit drugs, over the counter medication, volatile organic compounds, heavy metal ions, and licit compounds such as cannabis and alcohol. Through a series of interactive presentations, and podcasts you will learn in detail how each class of toxicants has unique toxicological properties and are presented with the focus on biological fluids. Each chapter in this section will take you through toxicology concepts as well as cases to illustrate how laboratory analysis enters the courtroom. Each podcast is dedicated to a specific chapter and a toxicant and provides a more detailed view of relevant cases from the Canadian Legal Institute.

Module 2 covers the practical aspects in forensic toxicology such as sample collection and storage, sample analysis using presumptive and confirmatory testing, and ultimately data interpretation and reporting. Through a series of 4 interactive chapters, which include presentations and podcasts you will take a trip from the crime scene to the lab to the court setting. For example, a drug degradation in various biological fluids is discussed alongside the drug concentrations as a function of storage time and storage conditions. Each chapter and podcast incorporate a case to highlight how sample collection and testing are presented in court settings.

Virtual Laboratory module is dedicated to 5 common toxicants, and each lab contains videos on the specific chemical, as well as presumptive and confirmatory testing, when applicable. For example, you will be exposed to in lab testing of alcohol vapour, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Each lab is also supplied with data files (date sets) which contain various experimental data which you may access, and analyze.

The crime scene to lab transitions will be seamless as you move from content through laboratory demos and podcasts to court cases.



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Forensic Toxicology Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Sanela Martic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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