The Toxicology Department is responsible for the analysis of biological fluids and tissues for the presence or absence of alcohol, drugs, and poisons. The department has a wide array of instrumentation including: Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), Headspace Gas Chromatography, Headspace Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, and Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Additionally, the toxicologists interpret their findings in respect to impairment or toxicity of the compounds detected.
The department primarily handles postmortem and driving under the influence (DUI) investigations. In addition, the department also handles criminal sexual conduct cases, moonshine cases, investigations into potential poisonings and provides emergency analytical services in life or death situations. Rapid preliminary analysis is provided in cases involving child fatalities or officer involved shootings.
Typical toxicological analysis is based on case type and may include:
Analysis for volatiles (i.e. ethanol, methanol, acetone, isopropanol, difluoroethane, tetrafluoroethane, isoflurane and toluene)
Preliminary drug screen
General drug screen by GC/MS
General drug screen by LC-MS/MS
Confirmations and quantitations of present compounds where appropriate
Toxicology Department Summary – Capabilities and Services
Analysis of blood, urine, other biological fluids and tissues for:
Ethanol and other volatiles
Drugs – drugs of abuse and other clinically significant drugs
Poisons (i.e. carbon monoxide, arsenic, strychnine, cyanide, pesticides and herbicides)
Analysis of liquids (i.e. moonshine) for ethanol and other volatiles
Consultation and technical assistance in suspected or known poisoning cases.
Consultation with coroners, pathologists, investigators or attorneys concerning the results of analyses and interpretation of the toxicological significance of those findings.
Expert courtroom testimony in cases providing results of analysis and interpretation of the toxicological significance of those findings.