Forensic chemists and toxicologists work with drugs and poisons, but they each start with different evidence. Forensic chemists working in a crime lab must determine if the physical evidence they receive is an illegal substance such as marijuana or cocaine. They are also responsible for samples—including fire debris, soil, paint, glass, explosives, and fibers—obtained from suspected arson crimes. Toxicologists, on the other hand, work with biological evidence such as blood, saliva, urine, and feces, using analytical chemistry to identify chemical traces and unmetabolized drugs. They often work in labs associated with a medical examiner’s office or a hospital.
Drugs, Poisons, and Chemistry touches on all aspects of forensic chemistry, including how it developed and what it includes today. This useful new book covers a short history of forensic chemistry, detailing the story of arsenic and those who developed effective tests to detect it. Delving into the tools and techniques used by forensic chemists—ranging from such familiar tools as the microscope to slightly more obscure tools as the use of antibodies to detect toxins—this comprehensive resource provides a thorough examination of these three main areas of forensic chemistry.
- History and Pioneers
- Scientific Principles, Instrumentation, and Equipment
- Toxicology: Drugs and Poisons in the Body
- Forensic Drug Analysis
- Conclusions: The Future of Drugs, Poisons, and Chemistry.
Black-and-white photographs and line illustrations. Index. Appendix. Glossary. Cross-references. Sidebars. Further reading. Web sites. Tables.
About the Author(s)
Suzanne Bell, Ph.D., has a degree in chemistry from New Mexico State University and an M.S. in forensic science from the University of New Haven. She is currently an associate professor of chemistry and director of forensic and investigative sciences at West Virginia University. Bell’s previous work has been published in Journal of Chemical Education, Analytical Chemistry, and Journal of Forensic Science. Bell is also the author of the acclaimed The Facts On File Dictionary of Forensic Science and Encyclopedia of Forensic Science, Revised Edition.