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Forensic Toxicology in the Fore...and Aft: A Review of the Past, Present, and Future States

NCJ Number
Forensic Magazine Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: June/July 2008 Pages: 16,18,20,23
Robert A. Middleberg Ph.D.
Date Published
June 2008
4 pages
This article provides a brief accounting of the past, present, and “future” states of forensic toxicology.
Forensic toxicology is a discipline key to a wide variety of case types ranging from pre-employment testing to death investigation. Forensic toxicology is a scientific discipline with a “split personality” that includes the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living things and an analytical component. While the technology available to the forensic toxicologist is far superior to that of 170 years ago, the analytical challenges remain the same, and while the understanding of pharmaco/toxicokinetics and dynamics has advanced, the questions remain the same. It is likely that 170 years from now, the same or unique other challenges will still exist. Where the future may provide greater and greater toxicological information there is uncertainty that this will add interpretive clarity for the forensic toxicologist. This article discusses the challenges confronting the toxicological interpretation of findings and identifies that a need to focus on the analytical challenges is warranted. References