2022 Volume 6 Issue 1 Pages 2-26
Forensic toxicology is a field dealing with applications of accepted scientific methods in investigating drug related cases, analytical results of which can be issued and used in court. As unique aspects of forensic medicine/toxicology, various specimens ranging from blood, urine, body fluids to solid tissues can be dealt with in analysis. In addition, target substances to be subjected can also be varied from medicines, abused drugs, chemicals, to daily used substances. In analysis, various high-sensitive instruments such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) are being employed throughout the world.
Thus, it should be taken into consideration that various phenomenon including postmortem distribution/redistribution of drugs in the body and matrix effects on analysis can influence results of analysis, making the interpretation of analytical results very complex and difficult in forensic investigations. In this review, we have presented comprehensive perspectives on toxicological analysis and pharmacological information on 88 psychoactive substances in “Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act” in Japan, which should be of use in drug related cases. It is desirable for examiners to investigate and consider the cause of death based on comprehensive medical perspective, keeping in mind that the results of toxicological analysis are only one of factors in determining the cause of death. In addition, it is also quite important to record details of the samples and analytical procedures employed, so that the previous results can be verified later. These details on toxicological analysis can provide “chain of custody” of the investigation.