Attorneys involved in cases related to drugs will encounter autopsy reports and other postmortem findings that are trying 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 use of a street drug contribute to the death? Part one of this two-hour activity will go over the basics of what attorneys need to know: what happens in the body after death? How do postmortem changes affect drug levels? What are the different sources of drug levels in dead people (and why are we testing eyeball fluid anyway)? How drug levels can, and cannot be, tied to cause of death. And, what other information does a toxicologist need to help you answer your questions about a postmortem case?
Part two of this program will take the knowledge attorneys have gained in the area of postmortem toxicology and apply it to a class of drugs too often associated with death: opioids. Attorneys not only encounter opioids in every day news. Criminal attorneys hear of these drugs on a much-too-regular basis when it comes to impairment, fatalities, and street drug dealings. Medical malpractice attorneys encounter cases where an opioid may or may not have resulted in harm to a patient. Employment attorneys and family law attorneys have drug screen results cross their desks revealing what appears to be use of opioids. What pearls of science do attorneys need to know about these drugs? How do they work? How do they poison and take the lives of so many? Where do they fit into postmortem cases? Where is fentanyl found? How does naloxone work, and when does it work and when does it not? These questions and more will be answered during this one-hour portion of the program.
July 29, 2020
Allison A. Muller, PharmD, D.ABAT, FAACT