Toxicology is the study of all the adverse effects of drugs and chemicals that can take a toll on biological systems. Forensic toxicology has to take into consideration the application of toxicology for the purposes of the testimony at law, or in a specific medicolegal context. A forensic toxicologist will have to find answers to questions such as did prescription or illegal drugs cause or contribute to this person’s death? Did drugs or alcohol impair this person while they were driving? Or, was a drug used to facilitate a criminal act? Finding the answer to questions like these will often require a forensic toxicologist to work in collaboration with and share information with people from various law enforcement, forensic pathologists, death investigators, crime scene investigators, clinicians, other forensic scientists, and legal professionals. In the field of forensic toxicology, principles will mostly be involved three main sub-disciplines: postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology, and forensic drug testing. All of these sub-disciplines and specialized fields take into consideration a variety of uncommon career paths. When working in the aspect of postmortem forensic toxicology, a forensic toxicologist will work with pathologists, other medical examiners, and coroners to help come up with the role of alcohol, drugs, and poisons in the causation of a death. The forensic toxicology laboratory section will work in identifying and quantifying the presence of drugs and chemicals in any biological fluids and tissues that obtained taken from the body during the autopsy.
A wide possibility of specimens may be faced in postmortem toxicology investigations, this can be things including blood, urine, vitreous fluid from the eye, liver, brain, and other tissues in the body, as well as hair and nails of either the victim or the offender. Once the testing is complete, a forensic toxicologist will then have to interpret these findings. This information helps a forensic pathologist determine the cause and manner of death of the victim during an investigation of a crime. The forensic toxicologist uses professional state-of-the-art analytical techniques in these examinations, similar to as those used in hospital or research laboratories, to isolate and identify drugs and poisons from complicated biological specimens. This requires a vast knowledge of analytical chemistry procedures and ability to use instrumental analysis.
Forensic toxicology laboratories contain requires to use a variety of different techniques, including gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, spectrophotometry, and antibody-based immunoassays. There are also Qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis of which are used to determine which drugs or poisons are present in the crime, and at what concentration it may be. Forensic toxicologists must acquire an inquiring mind and the ability to apply their knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology to solve real-world puzzles. Human performance toxicology, professionals deal with the effects of alcohol and drugs on human performance and behavior. Drug and alcohol use may have serious medicolegal consequences and can be involved in many parts of criminal investigations, ranging from impaired driving to vehicular assault and homicide, to drug-facilitated crimes such as sexual assault. The criminal investigation-based analysis involves the same application of techniques as in the death investigation setting, however, in their case, specimens are typically collected from living persons. Blood and urine are commonly seen, but oral fluid, hair, and other specimens are also used.
Forensic toxicologists are mostly asked to determine the time, concentration, and extent of impairment resulting from different patterns of drug and alcohol use. The way a forensic toxicology interpret the test results in this area is what is called their greatest challenge, because it requires the application of knowledge from clinical and medical studies and experience in the field in order to give an opinion about the effects of a drug or combination of drugs on an individual at the time of a crime or accident. Forensic drug testing can be performed in a wide variety of other settings that can include the workplace, doping the control in sports, probation or parole, as well as strict monitoring and testing of anything. The use of drugs by people in the workplace has some kind of significant safety and economic consequences. This is particularly crucial for people who are employed in hazardous or safety-sensitive industries such as transportation and the military.
The scope of testing a drug is often limited sadly, but, compared with human performance or postmortem toxicology, the possible outcome of the testing can be greater. Workplace drug testing laboratories will be performing tens and thousands of tests per day and in many cases and many times will require specialized configurations of equipment such as the art of multiplexing, which in return will decrease time used in analysis and improves productivity. Under crimes, urine is the most common specimen tested but oral fluid, hair, sweats, and other matrices are also used if they can be obtained. As with all of the forensic disciplines, there will emphasis on record keeping, chain-of-custody documentation, stringent quality control, and data management. In forensic toxicology, the understanding and communication of the results can be more challenging than the analysis that they have to make itself. The results obtained are often determined using scientific tests and procedures that are complex and difficult for most juries and lawyers to understand. In conclusion, a toxicologist must have strong communication skills so the information can be presented fairly and clearly in court testimony.
Forensic Toxicologist Job Description
As someone who is responsible for testing bodily fluids and tissue samples during autopsies in order to look for the presence of chemicals, a forensic toxicologist will be work in laboratories to perform tests on samples collected by crime scene investigators. The jobs that they are required to be will be involving involve testing for the presence of gases like carbon monoxide, alcohol; metals; illicit drugs; prescription drugs; poisons and other poisons that can be detected when poisoning or drug overdoses are expected to be used in a crime.
A forensic toxicologist’s work will be able to help solve criminal cases, and these individuals are often called in to testify in a court of law on the findings of their investigations. In regards to specialized tests and methodologies used through the use of highly specific equipment and chemical reagents, a forensic toxicologist will be called upon to determine the facts either concerning the presence or the absence of chemicals while documenting each step of the process. Most of the majority of forensic toxicologists will be asked to work for the law enforcement agencies, private drug testing facilities, and government medical examiners. A job description, as certified by the board, of a forensic toxicologist will consist of Evaluating determinants or contributory factors in the cause and manner of death, Performing human-performance forensic toxicology, determining the absence or presence of drugs and chemicals in the blood, hair, tissue, breath, etc., Working with medical examiners and coroners to help establish the role of alcohol, drugs and poisons related to the cause of death, Using state-of-the-art chemical and biomedical instrumentation, Providing expert witness testimony, Complying with safety, quality control, and other administrative criteria. What is Toxicology? As mentioned, toxicology is the study of chemical effects on living organisms, particularly the poisoning of people. Toxicology will consist of studying the symptoms, mechanisms, treatments, and detection of poisoning on the body along with all the Chemicals, or toxic agents, possible factors can be biological, physical, or chemical factors. With time, toxicology and science have been evolving non-stop, allowing individuals the access to even more knowledge of the effects of toxic agents on the body continues to progress than ever before.
Toxicology can also be referred to as the “science of poisons,” because it involves the study of the effects of toxic agents on physical agents or chemicals and the possible correlating relationship between the dose of poison and its effect on the exposed body. What is Forensic Toxicology? Forensic toxicology knowledge and education will be combining the practice of toxicology with similar other disciplines used in the forensic field, including clinical chemistry and pharmacology, with the purpose to aid in the investigation of deaths that are surrounding poisoning no matter accidental or intentional or drug use. Through an examination of samples, the forensic toxicologists will be able to determine which toxic substances are present, in what amount of concentrations, and its effects of the substances and it’s toll on the body. Forensic toxicology, or also known as death investigation toxicology or postmortem toxicology, consists of not only the determining process of the presence and the amount of toxic substance in the post-mortem body, but a forensic toxicologist also concerns themselves with how the body’s natural processes affect the substance, including chemical change and its dilution.
Education Requirements for Forensic
Toxicologists Forensic toxicologists must complete, at least of the minimum requirement, a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, toxicology, chemistry, clinical chemistry, or any other related fields, even though many of the forensic toxicologists take it onto themselves to continue pursuing graduate degrees in this competitive field of forensic science. The main coursework that is involved in a forensic toxicology program typically will consist of general toxicology, principles of forensic science, and applied statistics for data analysis, toxic substances, forensic medicine in general, and lastly special topics in forensic toxicology. Forensic toxicology professionals and experts are mainly addressed differently when it comes to colleges and universities. So relatively, forensic toxicology programs can be easily found in criminal justice, physiological sciences departments, medicine, natural sciences, pharmacology, and health science fields. In most general cases, however, individuals are mostly set on continuing their degree by pursuing their undergraduate education in forensic toxicology through an institution that is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accrediting Commission or shortly called as FEPAC. Professional Certification for Forensic Toxicologists Many graduated individuals who are seeking any additional training and recognition in the field of forensic toxicology will often proceed to pursue a professional certified certification through one or more of the boards associated with toxicology, this will include
The American Board of Toxicology, and to become certified through the American Board of Toxicology, the candidates who applied must possess one of the these mentioned qualities: A doctorate degree and at least 3 years of full-time experience in toxicology a master’s degree and at least 7 years of full-time experience in toxicology, a bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of full-time experience in toxicology. These said candidates must also take a form of certification examination, which consists of assessment in three, major areas that are; Toxicity of agents, organ systems and effects, general principles and applied toxicology. Next, in order to receive accredited from The American Board of Forensic Toxicology, which is a board of forensic toxicology that offers certification as a forensic toxicology specialist. All the candidates must possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in one of the natural sciences from an accredited college or university. In which the subjects of studies must include a substantial amount of education in biology and chemistry, this can consist of pharmacology or toxicology. These candidates must also have at least 3 years of full-time experience in forensic toxicology.
A certification, whether it is given or not, is dependent upon passing a comprehensive written examination on the principles and practice of analytical toxicology. Membership in the Forensic Sciences Foundation or the American Board of Forensic Anthropology may also provide forensic toxicologists with important professional networking opportunities in their future.