Toxicology

ESR provides a comprehensive forensic toxicology service, mainly used by Coroners, Pathologists and the New Zealand Police.

Our scientists can analyse a range of biological specimens to determine the potential involvement of drugs and/or poisons in a death or alleged criminal act. We also analyse blood samples taken from drivers suspected of driving whilst impaired by drugs.

In a situation where death has occurred unexpectedly, a Coroner may order an investigation. The Pathologist conducts an autopsy, and if no cause of death can be determined, the Pathologist may send samples including blood, urine, liver and stomach contents to ESR for expert analysis.

In the situation of an accidental death the Pathologist may request analyses for drugs that have the potential to impair.

The types of analyses carried out depend on the purpose of the investigation. Our scientists can carry out analysis for evidence of the use of prescribed or over-the-counter medication, as well as a wide range of illicit drugs and some poisons.