The mission of UF PathLabs' Forensic Toxicology Laboratory is three-fold: Investigation, consultation and education.
Investigation: The primary mission of the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory is to support the Eighth District Medical Examiner in investigating the cause and manner of individuals' deaths. In this regard, the Laboratory provides comprehensive testing for the evaluation of the presence of poisons and/or exogenous chemicals (e.g., drugs and metabolites) in biological specimens provided as a function of the autopsy and/or inspection process. The findings are evaluated to determine what role, if any, they may have had in a given decedent’s death.
UF PathLabs' Forensic Toxicology Laboratory also performs analysis on a limited number of cases submitted by law enforcement agencies to determine the absence or presence of ethanol and other drugs and evaluates their role in modifying human performance and/or behavior.
Consultation: The Laboratory provides referring physicians guidance on the type of specimens to be collected; the required amounts of specimens; the circumstances under which collection should occur (case type, specimen preservation, etc.); and chain-of-custody/security requirements.
The director and the staff of the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory also act as consultants in providing advice and interpretation relative to the findings determined by the laboratory on the specimens noted above. This consultation is provided to the Medical Examiner's professional staff on a case-by-case basis.
Education: It is the responsibility of the Laboratory's staff to serve as an educational resource within the Medical Examiner’s office by providing continuing education on up-to-the-moment developments and advances within the field of postmortem forensic toxicology.