The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists

39th Annual International Meeting


August 26 - 30, 2001
Prague, Czech Republic


Homepage | Opening Addresses | Programme and Lectures | Posters | Pictures




O.H. Drummer
Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 57-83 Kavanagh St., Southbank, Victoria 3006 Australia (

Forensic toxicology, like most other sciences, is a rapidly development discipline. Advances in analytical methodology include the use of LC-MS as a routine technique to allow the analysis of a range of drugs and poisons in biological fluids. Whereas traditional techniques involved the solvent extraction of large amounts of liver, blood and other tissues to allow analysis on instrumentation with microgram detection limits, modern instrumentation and techniques allows detection to nanogram and even sub-nanogram levels. Toxicologists are now able to detect drugs at very low levels in alternative matrices, such as hair and saliva. This can now provide a different window of drug exposure than was hitherto possible. The development of solid-state devices based on immunoassay principles, is beginning to provide an ability to detect drugs on-site. This has enormous applications in traffic medicine and road-side enforcement and in workplace drug testing.

The rapid development of analytical techniques is also paralleled by the need to improve our understanding of our interpretation of toxicology results and drug effects. A number of widely prescribed drugs can influence the pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics of drugs, and consequently provide an opportunity for adverse drug reactions. Serotonin active drugs can elicit dramatic personality changes and may cause a serotonin syndrome. Many drugs are known to either inhibit P450 enzymes or compete with drugs for metabolism. This has the potential to elevate drug concentrations and lengthen half-life, and in some instances can even provoke a toxic response.

Interpretative skills and research is also ongoing to improve our understanding of the nature of drug interactions in poly drug use as they are to improve our understanding of postmortem processes including bioconversion and redistribution. This presentation overviews these emerging trends and provides a context for the new era of forensic toxicology in the 21st century.

   Go to Top    



Homepage | Opening Addresses | Programme and Lectures | Posters | Pictures