Volume 44, Issue 3 (May 1999)
Minimal Standards for the Performance and Interpretation of Toxicology Tests in Legal Proceedings
There have been several high profile criminal and civil cases that have been litigated in recent years involving toxicologic analyses and interpretations of blood, urine, and other specimens for drugs of abuse. Disputes have erupted between prominent toxicologists and laboratory scientists as to the validity and interpretation of the data presented. The disputes centered around the fact that the procedures used in these cases had not been properly validated with analytical noise being misinterpreted as a positive result. As with any analyses, forensic tests must be conducted in a manner such that they meet the minimum standards accepted within the toxicology community. No conclusions as to presence or absence of drug, its concentration, or its physiologic effects can be made if there is a failure to meet these basic standards. Several cases are presented where these standard tenets may not have been followed.