Published on: 17-01-2012

Dear TIAFT member,

A new Year has begun, and for our members in Asia, the Lunar New year is coming soon.

For TIAFT, 2012 brings our annual meeting in Hamamatsu, Japan. Registration and abstract submission are now open, and I encourage you to register and submit your best work. I have visited Japan in the winter of 2010, and I really appreciated the efficiency and very high level of service. The deadline for abstract submission is March 9. Thanks to the generous donations of the organisers of the Bonn and San Francisco meeting, TIAFT can offer 10 grants for members of developing countries to attend the meeting. See the page with the procedures. The deadline is February 20.

Another important aspect of our life as a scientist and expert witness is our ethics. TIAFT has a code of ethics, and I encourage you to read it. If the board receives notice that a member has potentially committed an ethics violation, it will investigate and take action according to the Code and the Constitution. The TIAFT constitution states "A member in any category may be censured or may be expelled from TIAFT for unethical or other conduct detrimental to the profession of forensic toxicology, or conduct detrimental to TIAFT as an organization. Charge(s) alleging any such conduct must be presented in writing by a member of TIAFT to the President of TIAFT, who, with the approval of the Executive Board, shall appoint an ad hoc Disciplinary Committee to investigate the charge(s) and recommend the action, if any, to be taken against the member…". The California Association of Criminalists compared the contents of TIAFT's Code of Conduct to similar documents from about three dozen other forensic science organizations. The results can be found on line in three spreadsheets posted on the California Association of Criminalists' website (, "Ethics" tab). I am glad to say that our ethics code compares very well to that of other societies.

In 2013, TIAFT will celebrate its 50th anniversary in London. Some members have already sent me pictures and documents from the early times at TIAFT, and we will submit articles on the history of TIAFT to the Bulletin. Please send me the documents, pictures, movies you have, so we can collectively write about the history of TIAFT. Members interested in our history can download old Bulletins from the Members' pages, starting from 1972. E.g. in the bulletin of January 1974, Alan Curry, E.G.C. Clarke and I. Sunshine gave their views of the next 10 years, which is very interesting reading.

Alain Verstraete
January 17, 2012