Forensic Toxicology

The science of detecting drugs in a body to help solve crime

What Forensic Toxicologists Do

  • Forensic toxicologists perform scientific tests on tissue samples and bodily fluids to see if substances are in the body.
  • These substances may include illegal drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, poison, metals and other chemicals or gasses.
  • The job may include drug testing employees, testing environmental areas for contamination and testing for the presence of "date rape" drugs.
  • The job of a forensic toxicologist can help identify substances in the body that may have caused the crime.

Understanding Forensic Toxicology

Job Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree needed in one of the physical sciences such as chemistry or biology.
  • Pharmacology is a plus.
  • After working in the field for 3 years, the American Board of Forensic Toxicology offers certification.
  • Must have two references working in the toxicology field to get certified.
  • Forensic toxicologists must get re-certified every 5 years.
  • Must know chemical compounds and how they react on the body.
Big image

Forensic Toxicology Used in Elvis Presley's Death Case

  • During testing, toxicologists found that 11 types of drugs were found in his body.
  • These drugs were consistent with medical treatment.
  • The lab results of all of the toxicologists who studied Presley's death concluded that his death could not have been caused by drugs.
  • Shelby County Medical Examiner Dr. Jerry T. Francisco commented that, "Had these drugs not been there, he still would have died."
  • It was concluded that Elvis Presley died of hypertensive heart disease with coronary artery disease as a contributing factor.
Big image


  • "Elvis Death - Autopsy Report." The Autopsy Report of Death Elvis Presley, Elvis Autopsy. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013.
  • "Forensic Toxicology." Forensic Toxicology. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.