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.
We undertake forensic analysis for Victoria Police to confirm the presence of drugs in randomly tested drivers, drivers injured in road accidents and drivers suspected of being drug impaired. Where the toxicology evidence is contested, our toxicology specialists provide expert evidence to the courts.
Our comprehensive hair testing drug service provides retrospective evidence of long-term drug use. This analysis is used to manage drug issues within an employee population or can inform detectives, clinicians and health care professionals about an individual’s drug use or environmental exposure to a drug.
Our specialist scientific and medical toxicologists provide expert opinions regarding the interpretation of toxicological analysis. This work includes the interpretation of clinical and post-mortem findings, as well as drug-induced behaviour in homicide, drug facilitated crime cases and drugs and driving investigations.
We undertake clinical toxicology analysis to assist in the differential diagnosis and treatment of patients with suspected drug toxicity.