Postmortem Toxicology Testing

Mission

To help determine the cause of manner of death by examining autopsy specimens for the presence and quantity of drugs and/or poisons.

What we do

  • Identify and quantify drugs and poisons in biological fluids to provide critical information for the investigations conducted by the Office of the State Medical Examiners.
  • Provide driver fatality statistics for the National Highway Traffic Safety Board’s use in driver safety initiatives and awareness campaigns.
  • Identify emerging illicit and designer drugs which can lead to overdose epidemics.

Accomplishments

  • Since 2008, the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory has maintained national accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standards by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). This laboratory was the first in New England to transition to the new and more rigorous ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standards.
  • Validated and implemented the following new methods to enhance previous procedures:
  • Rapid, expanded opioid method to simultaneously analyze 18 different opioids (2019);
  • An expanded method for 13 stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamine (2019);
  • Enhanced method for cannabinoids with new compounds added, including CBD (2020)
  • Improved method for 27 antidepressants and over-the -counter drugs (2020)