Toxicology is the analysis of drugs and poisons in biological tissues. Forensic toxicology includes the detection of drugs and poisons in biological systems for medico-legal purposes. Forensic specimens can include blood, urine, saliva, vitreous humor, liver, stomach contents and hair. Substances tested include alcohol, drugs of abuse, novel psychoactive substances and a large range of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
accidents including industrial, motor vehicle and workplace deaths
suspected drug overdoses
deaths where drug use may be suspected, or is required to be eliminated
homicides and other crime related deaths
natural cause deaths.
Services Provided by the Toxicology Department
In addition to medico-legal death investigation cases, analyses are conducted for Victoria Police on specimens from drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and drivers injured in accidents.
Our laboratory also analyses specimens from victims of crime and perpetrators suspected of drug facilitated assault. Specialist drug testing service for individuals, hospitals and other organisations, particularly for substances not readily handled by hospital or pathology facilities are also available.
We provide a 24-hour overnight toxicology service for the State Coroner and for Victoria Police in the event of a critical incident. This rapid analysis contributes to the evidence base that allows coroners to determine whether an autopsy is necessary in a death investigation.