Describe some of the techniques that forensic toxicologists use for isolating and identifying drugs and poisons
Analysis of Drugs and Poisons is the new name of the well established Clarke's Isolation and Identification of Drugs. [ Clarke now uses the Recommended International Non-proprietary Name (rINN) for drug names as this is now the international standard method of nomenclature.
Data for compounds in colour tests, thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography and high performance liquid
chromatography are given from which to choose systems that will separate and identify drugs, poisons and their metabolites.
Full mass spectra now join the full ultraviolet and infra-red spectra in the monographs together with the listings of the major peaks to assist further in identifying compounds. Detection of drugs and pharmaceuticals in biological samples is usually done by an initial screening and then a confirmation of the compound(s), which may include a quantitation of the compound(s). The screening and confirmation are usually, but not necessarily, done with different analytical methods. Every analytical method used in forensic toxicology should be carefully tested by performing a validation of the method to ensure correct and indisputable results at all times. A testing laboratory involved in forensic toxicology should adhere to a quality programme to ensure the best possible results and safety of any individual.
The choice of method for testing is highly dependent on what kind of substance one expects to find and the material on which the testing is performed. Biological samples are more complex to analyze because of factors such as the matrix effect and the metabolism and conjugation of the target compounds.
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