On Demand

What Stories Do the Dead Tell? Understanding Postmortem Toxicology for Attorneys

1h 3m

Created on May 24, 2021





As an expert witness consulting with attorneys on cases related to drugs, toxicologist Allison Muller regularly works with autopsy reports and other postmortem findings in order to tell the story of what happened to a person prior to death. Was there a drug overdose? Was a prescription medication responsible for the fatality? Was the person impaired prior to a fatal accident? Did the use of a street drug contribute to the death? This CLE program will review the basics of what attorneys need to know about postmortem toxicology, including what happens in the body after death, how postmortem changes affect drug levels, different sources of drug levels after death (and why we are testing eyeball fluid anyway). Most importantly, the program will help attorneys work with toxicology experts in postmortem cases, and convey the story that the lab can tell into the courtroom.

This course will benefit any attorneys working with post-mortem cases involving legal or illegal drugs. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. List three drug-related reactions that happen to a human body after death 

  2. Define the terms pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics

  3. Explain one way that postmortem changes affect drug levels

  4. State one example of how a drug level cannot be tied to a cause of death

  5. State one example of how a drug level can be tied to a cause of death

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