This manuscript provides an overview for analysts, medical and scientific investigators, and laboratory
administrators, the range of factors that should be considered to implement best practice forensic toxicology.
These include laboratory influence over the collection of specimens, their proper transport and chain-of-custody
before arrival in the laboratory. In addition, the laboratory needs to ensure properly trained staff use suitably
validated and documented analytical procedures that meet the intended purpose and type of case in an accredited
or suitably quality oriented management system. To assist the investigating officers laboratory results require an
interpretation over their possible significance when sufficient details are available over the circumstances of the
case. This requires a thorough understanding of the various factors that influence concentrations of substances
and ultimately their likely physiological effect. These include consideration of the route of ingestion, influence
over chronicity of usage on tissue concentrations and tolerance, possible combined drug effects or likely adverse
reactions and consideration of relevant genetic factors that may have influenced pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic
Keywords: Specimen, collection protocols, assay validation, quality systems, pharmacokinetics, redistribution, contextual information.
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