Responsibilities of a Forensic Toxicologist

Responsibilities of a Forensic Toxicologist

Forensic toxicologists are those who deal mainly with the effects of drugs and poisons and provide information to the court for justice. 

Forensic toxicologists are responsible for investigating different types of substances that help solve crimes or detect illegal contamination in the environment, food, or water supply and helps to determine the presence or absence of harmful chemicals in the human body.

Toxicologists might also work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and poison control centers, which help detect the dangerous or harmful chemicals in the environment, food, and water supply.

Forensic Toxicologists roles include:

  • Many crimes involve poisons entering into the body by poisoning, driving under the influence, and using illegal drugs. Detectives and criminal investigators ask help from forensic toxicologists to get the answers for the chemical substance related to crime. 
  • The word forensics means that any scientific technique used to investigate the crime for justice. Forensic toxicologists are scientists who apply their knowledge of poisons in crime investigation. Toxicologists deal with the presence and effects of poison or harmful chemicals on living creatures, especially humans.
  • Forensic toxicologists play a vital role in solving crimes and helping to determine the causes of death.

Forensic toxicologists are responsible in many investigations, which include

  • Examine the samples from bodily fluids and tissues to determine the presence or absence of harmful or intoxicating chemicals.
  • Collection and testing for dangerous contaminants in the environment or food supply. 
  • Estimate the determinants and contributing factors in the cause and manner of death.
  • Using biomedical and chemical instrumentation.
  • Prepare expert testimony.
  • Working with medical examiners and coroners helps to probe the role of substances related to the cause of death.
  • Forensic toxicologists may work for criminal justice agencies, police departments, or government labs in the law enforcement sphere. They investigate the poisons and harmful chemical substances such as alcohol, metals, drugs, chemicals, and gases. 
  • In some cases, the toxicologist’s findings are the essential factor in determining whether a crime was committed or not. 
  • Forensic toxicologists work with medical examiners and pathologists in helping to establish the role of alcohol, poisons, and drugs in the causation of death.
  • The toxicologist determines and quantifies the presence of illegal drugs and chemicals in blood and tissue samples. It is done by using state-of-the-art chemical and biomedical instrumentation capable of detecting small amounts of toxic materials, positively identifying them, and accurately measuring how much is present.
  • Forensic toxicologists make sure that the information is accurate, valid, and reliable, which is further used to determine the cause and manner of death.
  • Forensic toxicologists evaluate drugs and alcohol in biological samples, basically blood and urine, but increasingly in other matrices such as hair or oral fluids to determine the timing, extent, and impairment resulting from different drug and alcohol use types. The toxicologist uses the analytical methods used in many research and hospital laboratories to extract the drugs from complex biological samples and prepare them for analysis through extraction and purification and determine the identity and amount of drug present.

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