Forensic Toxicology and Legal Investigation of Death, Poisoning, and Drug Use

  • Bandr Fakiha Department of Medical Health Services/Umm Al-Qura University
Keywords: forensic toxicology, drug-related deaths, postmortem, drugs, poisons.


Forensic toxicology is a branch of pharmacology, the study of the effects of carious concentrations of drugs and poisons on human bodies. Today, forensic scientists have become better appreciated in their role of determining whether a certain death was caused by the use of a certain drug. Forensic medicine serves as the basis for the connection between forensic toxicology and the legal system. There is a high prevalence of drug-related deaths all over the world as drugs and poisons have been proven to be among the top ten causes of death in the world. Approximately 275 million people were estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2016. Drugs and poisons affect body organs and thus these organs are extracted by the forensic toxicologists for tests to determine the actual cause of death or poisoning in cases where the affected individual has not yet died. The most important samples that the forensic toxicologist should collect for proper examination include gastric contents, oral fluid, exhaled air, nails, hair, urine, plasma or serum, and blood. Forensic toxicologists should look for procedures that will make the investigation process as reliable as possible.


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