Friday, November 8, 2013

What is Forensic Toxicology?

The early 1800s and early 1900s are usually referred to by era historians as the “golden age of poisoning”. The incidence of poisoning was so high during the said period that scientists became driven to find antidotes or solutions, eventually giving birth the science of forensic toxicology. The tasks of forensic toxicologists include the examination of blood, tissue samples, and body fluids of a victim to determine if the cause of death was due to drugs or other poisonous substances.

Generally, forensic toxicology is a discipline in forensic science that focuses on the study of toxic substances. To be more specific, it involves the study of drugs, alcohol, and poisons, and their absorption, distribution, and effect to the human body. There are four disciplines under forensic toxicology, namely death investigation toxicology, human performance toxicology, doping control, and forensic workplace drug testing.

Death investigation toxicology focuses on identifying the role of alcohol, drugs, and poison as the cause of death of some people, and is typically practiced by pathologists and medical examiners. On the other hand, human performance toxicology tackles the effects of alcohol and drugs on the performance and behavior of humans.

Finally, doping control is frequently applied in the world of competitive sports as it assists in detecting the use of banned performance enhancing drugs by athletes. Forensic workplace drug testing is used to ensure that employees or workers are compliant with safety standards that strictly prohibit the use and abuse of illegal drugs or substances.

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