What is Toxicology?  

Toxicology is the study of the toxic or harmful effects of chemicals.  It is concerned with how toxins (alcohol or drugs) act when their harmful effects occur, and what the symptoms and treatments are for poisoning.  It also involves the identification of the substances involved.  Toxicology encompasses theoretical considerations, methods and procedures from many disciplines including analytical chemistry, biochemistry, epidemiology, pharmacodynamics and physiology. 

What is Forensic Toxicology?

Forensic toxicology is a discipline of forensic science concerning the study of toxic substances or poisons.  The primary concern for forensic toxicology is not the legal outcome of the toxicological investigation, but rather the technology and the techniques for obtaining and interpreting the results.  A toxicological analysis can be done on various types of samples.  Currently, forensic toxicology is the study of alcohol and drugs (drugs of abuse, illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs), including their chemical composition, preparation and identification.  It includes knowledge about the absorption, distribution and elimination characteristics of such substances in the body as well as the manner in which the body responds to their presence and factors which determine drug safety and effectiveness.  To understand drug action, one must know where and how the effect occurs in the body.

What is a Forensic Toxicologist?

According to the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT), forensic toxicology encompasses the measurement of alcohol, drugs and other toxic substances in biological specimens and interpretation of such results in a medicolegal context.  Forensic toxicologists perform scientific tests on bodily fluids and tissue samples to identify any drugs or chemicals present in the body.  A forensic toxicologist will isolate and identify any substances in the body that may have contributed to a crime, such as alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, and other chemicals.  Working in a laboratory, the forensic toxicologist performs tests on samples collected for analysis.  They use highly sophisticated instruments, chemical reagents and precise methodologies to determine the presence or absence of specific substances in the sample.  The work requires patience and the ability to follow specific steps to achieve reliable results.  The forensic toxicologist must document every step of the process, and take care to follow rules regarding chain of custody for physical evidence.  Investigators rely on the forensic toxicologist to make reliable conclusions about the impact of a specific amount on a specific individual.  Often, this requires the professional to form an educated opinion based on science and experience.  If asked to testify in court, the forensic toxicologist must be prepared to justify that opinion and to explain complex methodologies in terms a jury can understand.

How Our Service Helps

Our expertise includes: how alcohol and drugs affect human performance and behavior as it pertains to driving a motor vehicle.  We can show this by performing: Referee Retesting, Absorption, Distribution and Elimination studies, Recreation of Drinking episodes, Partition Ratio studies, Review of Documents, Consultations, Writing Declarations and Reports, Review and Interpretation of FST results, and Expert Courtroom Testimony in DUI and DUI-D cases including HS11550 cases and DMV-APS hearings.  Urine drug testing for individuals and businesses.  Also, Court-ordered custody and probation drug testing, and pretrial services drug testing.

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