Project #18235 - Forensic Toxicology

Each of your responses should be at least 3 to 5 sentences in length.


1.      What is the primary duty of a forensic toxicologist?


2.      What are the requirements of a suitable test for alcohol intoxication?


3.      List at least three factors that determine the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream.


4.      Name and describe the process by which most alcohol is eliminated from the body.  How is the remaining alcohol eliminated and how is this useful in testing for alcohol?


5.      Why is a blood test for alcohol taken shortly after drinking more advantageous for the suspect than one taken 30 minutes or more after drinking?


6.      What was the first successful breath-test device and what did it measure to determine blood-alcohol concentration? What is the main difference between this device and the breath-test devices currently in use?


7.      Describe how a fuel cell detector measures blood alcohol.


8.      What is the key to the accuracy of a breath tester? Describe two steps the operator takes to ensure that this key requirement is met.


9.      What is a divided-attention task? Name and describe two divided-attention tasks often administered during field sobriety tests.


10.    What is horizontal gaze nystagmus and how does the test for it reveal blood-alcohol levels?


11.    What substances are typically added to blood that is collected from a subject before it is sent to a toxicology lab, and why are they added?


12.    Why is it best to collect blood samples from different body sites for postmortem alcohol determination?


13.    At what blood-alcohol level is a typical driver in the United States considered legally intoxicated? At what blood-alcohol level is a commercial truck or bus driver in the United States considered legally intoxicated?


14.    List two significant challenges a forensic toxicologist faces when attempting to identify drugs present in a body.


15.    What is metabolism and how does it complicate the task of the forensic toxicologist?


16.    Why is it necessary to follow a positive screening test for drugs with a confirmation test? What is the confirmation test of choice?


17.    A body is found at a fire scene but investigators are not sure whether the victim was alive when the fire began. How can measuring the level of carbon monoxide in the victim’s blood help determine this?




1.      What is the A-B-O system? Why is the system no longer used by forensic scientists?


2.      What is an antigen and how is it useful in individualizing blood?


3.      What is an antibody and what happens when an antibody reacts with its specific antigen?



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Due By (Pacific Time) 12/01/2013 09:00 am
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