Forensic Science: Drug Identification and Toxicology

Controlled Substance
a drug or other chemical compound whose manufacture, distribution, posession, and use is regulated by the legal system
a chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body; a substance used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease; a substance used recreationally for its effects on the mind or body, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen
an addictive drug, such as opium, that relieves pain, alters mood and behaviorm and causes sleep or feelings of mental numbness
A naturally occurring or manufactured substance that can cause severe harm or death if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin
the degree to which a substance is poisonous or can cause injury
A poisonous substance naturally produced by certain plants, animals, and bacteria that is capable of causing disease or death in humans; a subgroup of poisons
is the study of poisons and the identification of drugs and other subtances a person may have use for medicinal, recreational, or criminal purposes.
Toxicity depends on three things
the dose, the duration, and the nature of the exposure

other factors would be: whether the drug or toxin interacts with other substances in the body such as alcohol or prescription drugs

how much of it is taken in or absorbed
the frequency an length of the exposure
Nature of the Exposure
whether it was ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin
Forensic Toxicology
helps determine the cause-and-effect relationships between exposure to a drug or other substances an the toxic or lethal effects from that exposure.
How to examine drugs in the body
analyze body fluids, stomach contents, skin, hair, or in the case of lethal exposures, internal organs, such as the liver, and from the vitreous humor fluid of the eye
Toxic Substances are classified how?
Intentionally — to treat an illness or relieve pain

Accidentally — Ingested or exposed, as in unintentional overdose or harmful combinations

Deliberately — As in suicide or exposures intended to harm or kill others

one of the earliest reporte victims of poisoning
When did Toxicology become a profession?
17th Century
Inheritance Powder
Mathieu Orfila and Robert Christison
First forensic toxicologists to popularize these new methods
.5 to 1 percent of all homicides result from poisoning
Acute Poisoning
caused by a high dose over a short period of time
Chronic Poisoning
caused by lower doses over a long period of time
Controlle Substances
are defined as legal drugs whose sale; possession, and use are restricte because of the effect of the drugs an the potential for abuse.
What are the controlled substances
(1) hallucinogens (2) narcotics (3) stimulants (4) anabolic steroids (5) depressants
derived from plants and affect the user’s perceptions, thinking, self-awareness, and emotions
act to reduce pain by supression the central nervous system’s ability to relay pain messages to the brain
they increase feelings of energy an alertness while suppressing appetite
Anabolic Steriods
promote cell and tissue growth and division
relieve anxiety and produce sleep
Organic Toxins
are poisonous substances produce by living organisms.
the most poisonous biological substance known to humans
Clostridium Botulinum
paralyzes muscles by blocking the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine
Clostridium Tentani
is the bacteria that produce tetanus
heavy metals and pesticides
common poisons found in humans
Drug Identicfication
Could be a cause of death
contributer to death
Drug abuse violations
Drug abuse violations consistent
rise since 1990’s

Drug violations tops the list of 7
leading arrest offenses

More than half of federal inmates are
drug violations

Schedule 1
high abuse and addiction potential
no accepted medical safety or benefit of use
heroin, LSD opiates and marijuana
Schedule 2
high abuse and addiction potential
accepted medical treatment uses
morphine, PCP, cocaine, methadone an methamphetamines
Schedule 3
less abuse potential than 1 or 2 lvl drugs
accepted medical treatment uses
small to moderate chance of physical or psychological dependence
anabolic steroids, tylenol with codeine
Schedule 4
lower abuse potential
accepte medical treatment uses
limited possibilities physical dependence
Darvon, Valium, Xanax
Schedule 5
lowest abuse potential
accepte medical uses
very limited chance of dependence
over the counter cough medicines with codeine
opium alkaloids
Cobalt thiocyanate
Cobalt acetate/isopropylamine
Marquis Test detects
Heroin, Morphine and Codeine — turns purple…Amphetamines — turns red-brown
Cobalt Thicyanate
Turns blue if LSD is present
Confirmatory Test
Gas chromatography/Mass spectrometry
GC MS process
Helium Gas — compound in a solution — heated and vaporizes — seperates — electric current — detector
Advantages over urinanalysis
Longer dectection Period
Cannot be tampered with
Non-intrusive collection
Hair from any part of the boy can be used
Disadvantages over urinanalysis
External contamination
Why use drug tests
Suspected death
DUI — determine blood alcohol content
Athletic Performance Enhancement
Drug screening
Blood — Postmortem

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