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FSCT 8240 - Forensic Toxicology 1

Forensic Investigation Part-time Studies Course

School of Computing and Academic Studies

Course Details

This course serves as an introduction to the analytical techniques, scientific instruments and common drugs that are encountered by a practicing forensic toxicologist. Other topics that are explored include quality assurance in the lab, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of drugs, impairment versus intoxication and how the interpretation of drug effect is utilized in the criminal court setting. The Science of Marijuana, along with some other interesting new drugs, will also be discussed. Directed reading, practical assignments and participatory discussions will introduce you to the science of forensic toxicology.


Admission to a Forensic credential program or permission of the Program Coordinator.





Spring/Summer 2019

Below is one offering of this course for the Spring/Summer 2019 term.

CRN 62473

Wed Apr 10 - Wed Jul 10 13 Weeks

Class Meeting Times

Dates Days Times Locations
Apr 10 - Jul 10 Online


Micheal Rosland

Course Outline

TBD – see Learning Outcomes in the interim




  1. Internet delivery format.
  2. Departmental approval needed
  3. For details on the textbook required, please check: . For departmental approval, please contact Julia Dreyer, Program Assistant, at For information on Forensic programs and courses, please visit: .

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, the student will be able to:

  • Attain a working knowledge of how to successfully complete this course online.
  • Define the role of a forensic toxicologist and list the objectives that such a scientist would have to be successful.
  • Review and briefly describe the historical events and developments that led to the development of the science of forensic toxicology.
  • Describe what tissues and fluids are used for drug screening in forensic toxicology.
  • List advantages and disadvantages associated with each tissue and fluid.
  • Explain how drugs are extracted from tissues and fluids in preparation for screening, confirmation, and quantitation.
  • Demonstrate the proper choice of tissues and fluids for specific case studies.
  • Describe the basic principles behind immunoassay drug screening.
  • Identify the strengths and limitations of six specific immunoassay techniques utilized in forensic toxicology.
  • Write a short essay (at least 300 words) on how you would use one of the specific techniques in a post-mortem investigation involving a single drug. Describe how you would overcome the limitations, account for the cross-reactivity, and discuss how the assay cut-off levels affect your conclusions.
  • Identify the main instrumental drug screening techniques utilized in forensic toxicology.
  • Describe the basic operating principles and characteristics of each instrument.
  • Give two specific examples of how a technique/instrument could be utilized to screen for a particular drug or class of drugs.
  • Identify and explain the main drug identification and quantitation techniques, along with associated instrumentation, utilized in forensic toxicology.
  • Describe the basic operating principles and characteristics of each instrument.
  • Explain how to quantify a drug in blood.
  • List the five main topics that must be covered in a quality assurance program for a forensic toxicology lab, and explain what role each plays in the program.
  • Describe how to carry out method development for both qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Demonstrate the use of a quality control chart, including the ramifications in a forensic toxicology lab.
  • Describe the science of pharmacokinetics.
  • Differentiate pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacology.
  • Compare the effects of CNS depressants and CNS stimulants.
  • Describe the four main categories of drugs based upon their separation from biological matrices and demonstrate how they form a comprehensive toxicologic analysis. Place each of the following drug or drug class in one of the four drug types and then give a brief overview of each drug or drug category including at least each of the following topics: historical use and availability, analytical considerations, toxicological characteristics, pharmacological properties.
  • Barbiturates
  • Antidepressants
  • Morphine
  • Develop a systematic approach to qualitative and quantitative drug screening.
  • Contrast in tabular form the following characteristics for each of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine: chemical properties, analytical considerations, uses, how it works, effects on the body, toxicity (define a toxic level), and adverse effects.
  • Prepare a report on Marijuana covering at least the following topics: history, what is it, how is it used, chemical properties, analytical considerations, effects on the body, and blood level interpretive difficulties.
  • Give a brief overview of each of the following drugs, drug classes or chemicals including at least each of the following topics: historical use and availability, analytical considerations, toxicological characteristics, pharmacological properties: inhalants, anaesthetics, hallucinogens, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, lead, ethylene glycol, and pesticides.
  • Contrast the 'Club Drugs' versus the 'Date Rape Drugs' utilizing the following headings: what are they, how did they evolve, how are they utilized, analytical considerations, toxicological characteristics, and pharmacological properties.
  • Summarize each of the 12 steps of the DRE Program and construct a matrix, which relates the seven impairing-drug classes to the data collected in the 12 steps.
  • List limitations and pitfalls when predicting the effects of drug concentrations on a living person, especially when considering what role it may play in a person's death.

Effective as of Winter 2005

Related Programs

FSCT 8240 is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Computing and Academic Studies

  1. Combined Honours in Biochemistry and Forensic Science
    Full-time   Bachelor of Science
  2. Forensic Investigation (Forensic Science Option)
    Part-time   Advanced Certificate
  3. Forensic Investigation (General Criminalistics Option)
    Part-time   Advanced Certificate
  4. Forensic Investigation (Forensic Science Option)
    Part-time   Bachelor of Technology


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