The Role of a Toxicology Lab in Criminal Investigations

Toxicology testing is often used in criminal investigations. This type of testing involves collecting samples from a primary care physician, drug treatment program, or other source. Tests are performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to determine the presence of certain chemicals in the body. Testing results are used in a variety of criminal cases, including drug and alcohol possession. During a criminal investigation, a toxicology result may be necessary for criminal prosecution.

Forensic toxicology results are used in criminal investigations

In criminal investigations, forensic toxicology Toxicology Lab results play a key role in establishing guilt or innocence. Toxicologists are crucial in cases where there is a suspicion of a drug or alcohol overdose. These experts can help establish whether a suspected criminal used drugs or alcohol to cause death, or whether the victim had a history of drug abuse. Aside from assisting law enforcement, toxicology experts often work in collaboration with other forensic scientists and the police.

Samples are collected by a primary care physician or at a drug treatment program

Toxicology Labs collect urine and oral fluid samples from a patient. Urine samples are typically qualitative in nature, meaning they will only tell the health care professional whether or not the patient has consumed a particular drug. In contrast, saliva and hair samples provide quantitative results and can confirm initial screening results. Toxicology Labs collect samples from patients through primary care physicians and drug treatment programs.

Tests are confirmed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometric analysis has been used for years in forensic toxicology laboratories to confirm presumed positive results in chemistry-based tests. It can identify and analyze over 4000 substances. The method is most effective for dedicated multi-target screening and is capable of identifying specific drug classes. It is used to confirm suspected positive results in a variety of clinical cases.

Testing is performed after a criminal investigation

Toxicology laboratories conduct tests to determine if a substance can cause injury or death. Toxins can be detected in bodily fluids from a criminal investigation. Tests for alcohol and other impairing substances may be conducted. Testing for drugs may also be performed. In some cases, a criminal investigation will be delayed until toxicology results are obtained. Toxicology laboratories are a vital tool in the investigation process.

Testing is performed for a legal purpose

Toxicology tests are performed for a legal purpose, such as identifying the drugs, alcohols and other toxins in biological samples. These tests can help determine the cause and manner of death in a variety of criminal cases, including drug-facilitated sexual assault and DUI. Toxicologists may testify in municipal, circuit, or federal courts. In some cases, they will also analyze a victim’s saliva.