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Forensic Toxicology

Analytical toxicological testing to support NSW heath and justice systems.

About our Forensic Toxicology service

Our toxicology teams are part of NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic & Analytical Science Service.

Teams detect and measure the amount of alcohol and therapeutic and illicit drug substances in biological samples using leading-edge techniques and scientific instruments.

This identifies instances of drug use and intoxication, and informs cause of death, helping support and safeguard NSW people and families. Teams work with NSW Government and other agencies including:

  • NSW Coroners Court
  • NSW Department of Communities and Justice
  • NSW Health
  • NSW Police Force
  • Transport for NSW
  • Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Other non-government organisations in the drug and alcohol sector.

Service Overview

Forensic Toxicology Laboratory
  • Analyses biological samples for an extensive range of therapeutic and illicit substances.
  • Works with NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic Medicine service to provide advice to the NSW Coroners Court on substances relevant to cause of death findings.
  • Helps NSW Health clinical toxicologists, via the NSW Poisons Information Centre, identify substances related to severe drug toxicity in emergency department patients.
Drugs and Driving Toxicology

Our results help NSW Police Force determine if alcohol or drugs were present in people:

  • Involved in motor vehicle accidents
  • Suspected of driving under the influence
  • Involved in offences including homicide and drug-related assaults.

This service supports NSW Government legislation, policy, road safety plans and campaigns.

Drug Toxicology Unit

The unit contributes to:

  • Statewide drug, alcohol and opioid treatment programs, NSW Drug Court and MERIT programs, and Corrective Services
  • Rehabilitation care to help vulnerable people reduce their drug use and the social and economic harm this brings.

It also designs bespoke illicit and therapeutic drug tests to support clinical trials and research.

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