National Center for Forensic Science


Toxicologists detect and identify the presence of drugs and poisons in body fluids, tissues, and organs.  Toxicology is performed for  many reasons such as drug identification in an overdose,  detection for employment, performance enhancement,  lead poisoning, and alcohol concentration.  Toxicologists are employed by hospital laboratories, health facilities, crime laboratories, and medical examiners’ offices.  The detection and identification of substance of abuse are performed because the substances have psychological and physiological affects on humans which impact society.  Challenges to toxicology are the low concentrations and the drug breaks down into metabolites that are excreted from the body.  Similar to drug analysis, techniques in toxicology request successful isolation and detection of the substance for identification.

Reference: Criminalistics, An Introduction to Forensic Science, 5th Edition, Saferstein, R. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995).

NCFS research:

1.Screening of urine for the presence of illicit drugs, their metabolites, masking agents, and adulterants.

For more information contact Dr. Candice Bridge.