Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Forensics Collection and analysis of evidence - Toxicology Abstract Forensic toxicology is a branch of forensic medicine, which involves the collection and analysis of specimen for criminal investigations. This is very vital since it helps in establishing whether there was use of a drug or poison in causing death…
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Introduction Forensic toxicology is the use of toxicology to assist medico-legal analyses and investigations of death and poisoning. In a wider sense, it also extends to comprise workplace drug testing as well as investigating the drivers who are driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol (Penders & Verstraete, 286). According to Levine, Forensic toxicology is the use of toxicology for the functions of the law. Under the broad forensic toxicology, there are three major sub-fields. These include “postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology and forensic drug testing.” However, since the major aim of practicing forensic toxicology is to investigate a fatality, most analysts conduct the examination and analyses on specimens from dead people (3). Riviello adds that forensic toxicology centers on medicinal features of destructive impacts of chemical toxins. In addition, pathologists are the ones who collect most of the specimens used for forensic toxicology or postmortem analysis. Conversely, medical practitioners and other clinical officers might also be very useful in forensic toxicology. The main reason for this assertion is the fact that they are frequently the first people to observe, detect and gather samples from patients who might be subject of lawful investigation. Moreover, there should be careful and proper handling of forensic specimens from collection to analysis to avoid getting inappropriate or deceiving results (36). History and importance of forensic toxicology The methodical study of forensic toxicology started during the late eighteenth century. It emanated as a segment of forensic medicine primarily dealing with the issue of establishing purposeful poisoning in criminal investigations. However, the major challenge was that it was frequently very hard to differentiate signs emanating from numerous common poisonous plants with those of particular diseases. Due to this, most medical practitioners and physicians concurred that improved knowledge of the chemical features and physiological effects of toxins would assist diagnosis and management in addition to the search for evidence (Coley, 409). In 1814, M.J.B. Orfila, the chair of the legal medicine department at the Sarbonne in France, made the initial effort to analytically study and classify poisons. Moreover, he was the first researcher to establish that for poisons to portray their poisonous effects, they must be absorbed in the blood. In 1951, Jean Servais Stas initiated the first successful approach of extracting alkaloids from biological samples (Levine, 3). In the criminal courts medical specialists, presented proof founded on clinical and pathological examinations, and deduced in terms of modern ideas of the physiological impacts of drugs and poisons (Coley, 410). The most apparent significance of postmortem forensic toxicologic examinations lies in supposed drug intoxication cases not readily detected at autopsy. In the case of intravenous drug fatalities, a fresh injection site might be observable, and numerous unabsorbed tablet pieces in the stomach might infer oral intoxications. Forensic toxicology is also in investigation of deaths other than drug intoxications, for instance homicides and unintended deaths. Various medical inspector or coroner’s offices regularly carry out drug examinations for all homicides as many homicides are drug
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This may happen for example when one is giving adverse testimony about a criminal gang or a criminal who has the capacity to harm or injure the witness and/or their relatives (Scroggin, 2011). It may also happen when a witness is unwilling to testify against their relative or other person due to their perceived notion that this may compromise their relationship henceforth.
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