Below is an index of courses available from the CVRC. Please note that unless otherwise indicated (with a green ‘tick’ icon), payment is required to access the course materials.
The Forensic Toxicology course provides an overview of the problems faced by the Forensic Toxicologist during forensic investigations for medical and legal purposes.
The investigations performed involve the examination of a wide range of biological and non-biological specimens to ascertain which substance(s) may have been involved in the underlying pathology, as a cause of death or in the commissioning of a crime.
Substances for which analyses are requested include legal and illegal drugs, over the counter and prescription medications, classic poisons, metals and plant materials. The course is presented by professionals working in the field and covers the whole process that may impact upon toxicological findings.
In the living the process starts from the admission to police stations or accident & emergency departments where individual’s symptoms and signs may be recorded and treatment may be initiated. For the deceased the findings at autopsy may provide valuable information for the toxicologist, the pathologist, the coroner, police officers or those involved in criminal or civil defence work. For both the living and the deceased the pre-analytical considerations, such as sample collection and documenting chain of custody are critical, and are set in the context of the analytical problems.
The course then goes on to focus upon particular areas such as drug facilitated crime, recreational drugs and the ever evolving designer drug market. The strengths and limitations of the analytical tools the toxicologist have available to them are discussed, together with the impact of the Human Tissue Act on clinical research studies.
Finally the interpretation of toxicological findings is discussed, with particular emphasis on the limitations imposed by sparse information on the toxicity of drugs in overdose and the complexities resulting from cases in which multiple drugs are involved.