People who like watching TV crime dramas may be familiar with the term “forensic toxicologist”. They are the characters who work in the laboratories, peer through their microscopes, and conduct all kinds of tests on materials and samples taken from a crime scene or the victim’s body. In the real world, forensic toxicologists indeed perform an important role in the investigation of a crime. Through scientific methodologies, and by using sophisticated tools and equipment, they look for substances in samples that may be relevant to the event being investigated.
However, the work of forensic toxicologists is not confined to assisting in crime scene investigations alone. These professionals are also called upon to conduct drug tests on private and government employees, date rape victims, and athletes who are tested for performance-enhancing products. In addition to these, forensic toxicologists also help in environmental contamination cases, and wildlife investigations where they test animal samples.
In addition to determining the presence of a specific substance in a case, the forensic toxicologist also needs to identify how much of the substance was present and its effects on the person or entity involved. Forensic toxicologists may also be asked to act as witnesses in a court case and should be prepared to explain their methodologies and findings in a way a judge or jury can understand.