Death Investigations with Forensic Toxicology Essays

Death Investigations with Forensic Toxicology Essays

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Forensic toxicology is one of the oldest disciplines in forensic science history and dates back hundreds of years. However, the actual understanding and examination of forensic toxicology only dates back for about 200 years. Due to the development of technology, this discipline has been able to progress and flourish.
The term forensic toxicology is defined as examination of all aspects of toxicity that may have legal implications (James & Nordby, 2009 p. 61). In the past, poisoning was one of the most popular forms of murder. There are countless natural substances in the world that when ingested into the body in high doses, can become lethal to the human body. What made this form of murder so famous is that most poisons mimic common medical diseases, leading physicians to believe a victim died of natural causes (Ramsland, n.d.). Aside from murder, this forensic discipline is also essential for determining accidental deaths and suicides.
As stated earlier, forensic toxicology is the examination of toxic substances in human tissues, organs, and body fluids that may have contributed or caused death to an individual (Tilstone, Savage, Clark, 2006). When referring to toxicology, the important terms to focus on are “poisons” and “poisoning”. Poison can be defined as a substance which, when introduced into or applied to the body, is capable of injuring health or destroying life (Robertson, 1929). A simpler definition of poison would be that it is the malicious intent on giving a drug or substance to an individual.
Poisons come in different forms and act in different ways. They can act locally, absorption through the body, or both. There are three different categories that poisons are put into: inorganic, organic, and asphyxiants...


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...ogy to become more important than it has in the past. The term forensic toxicology has been identified as the examination of toxic substances in human tissues, organs, and body fluids that may have contributed or caused death to an individual (Tilstone, Savage, Clark, 2006). Although forensic toxicology is concerned with what toxic substances contributed or caused death to an individual, it also plays a major role in simple drug testing that doesn’t involve death whether it be drug screening for future employees or even testing which chemicals were involved in sexual assault cases. Regardless of the situation, a forensic toxicologist is involved with determining toxins in the body. Without the use of forensic toxicology, there would be a major hole in forensic science and would make it more difficult for determining causes and times of death in many sorts of cases.

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