Drugs & Toxicology

are_u_on_drugs.jpg
Drugs –– chemical substances that affect the processes of the mind or body. Substances used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease. Substances used recreationally for their effects on the mind or body such as a narcotic or hallucinogen.
telecrackheads.jpg
Toxicology
-- “The Science of Poisons” - the study of poisons and the identification of drugs and other substances a person may have used for medicinal, recreational, or criminal purposes. Also examines the harmful effects of poisons and drugs on the body.
History – Socrates was one of the earliest reported victims of poisoning ( hemlock, 399 BC). It was not until the 1800’s that methods of chemical analysis were developed to identify arsenic and other toxins in human tissue. The first forensic toxicologists to popularize these new methods were physicians Mathieu Orfila (1787-1853) and Robert Christison (1797-1882).

Exposed to drugs and other toxins through:
1. Ingesting them so they enter the gastrointestinal system
2. Inhaling them into the lungs
3. Injecting them into the bloodstream
4. Absorbing them into the skin

Toxicity – The degree to which a substance is poisonous or can cause injury. Toxicity depends on many factors:
1. The dose
2. The duration ( frequency and length of exposure)
3. Nature of exposure (ingested, inhaled, injected, absorbed through skin)
4. Other – whether interacts with other substances in body (alcohol, prescription drugs.)

Toxic substances are classified by how people are exposed to them:
1. Intentionally – treat an illness or relieve pain
2. Accidentally – unintentional overdoses or harmful combinations
3. Deliberately – suicide or exposures intended to harm or kill others.

The effects of drugs and toxins can go from immediate death to changes months or years later. drugs & toxins have an effect on organs and different types of cells.
Some chemicals by themselves are toxic while others have to be processed in the body before they become toxic.

Murder by Poison
- Murder by Poison is not as common as people think it is even though you see it all the time in movies.
- Less than one of half of one percent of all murders are related to poisoning
- The most common poisons used today are arsenic, cyanide, and strychnine, fertilizers, and other various industrial chemicals
- Toxicologists must differentiate between acute poisoning and chronic poisoning
- Acute poisoning is caused by a high dose over a short period of time
- Some examples would be inhaling toxins or cyanide ingestion which cause almost immediate symptoms
- Chronic poisoning is caused by lower doses over a longer periods of time
- The problem is that the symptoms gradually show up
- Mercury and lead poisoning are two examples and they usually develop symptoms as the metal concentrations slowly rise and the toxin levels rise gradually over long periods of time
Accidental Drug overdoses
- Accidental deaths from drug overdoses are more common than deaths from poisoning
- Most of them are usually lethal combinations of drugs that cause the overdoses
Drugs and Crime
drugs1.jpg
- Heroin and LSD are drugs with no current medical use in the United States
- A controlled substance is defined as a drug or other chemical compound
whose manufacture, distribution, possession, and use of is regulated by the legal system.
- These drugs are medications such as narcotics, depressants, and stimulants
- Drug offenders make up more than half of the federal prison system population and about 20 percent of the state prison population
- Drug abuse violations topped the list of the seven leading arrest offenses in 2005
Controlled Substances
There are 5 classes of controlled substances: (1) hallucinogens, (2) narcotics, (3) stimulants, (4) anabolic steroids, (5) depressants.
barbie_drugs.jpg
Hallucinogens
1. Affect the user’s perceptions, thinking, self-awareness, and emotions.
2. Those derived from plants are: peyote (cactus), marijuana, extracts from mushrooms.
3. Those chemically manufactured include: LSD, MDMA (the amphetamine ecstasy), and PCP (angel dust)
4. LSD was originally found in 1938 in a fungus that grows on rye and other grains and is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Sold in tablets or on “stamps”.
5. PCP was first developed as an anesthetic but is no longer used because it induces hallucinations. It is available as a pure white crystal-like powder, tablets or tablets.
6. Mescaline is smoked or swallowed in the form of capsules.
7. Marijuana can be smoked or refined, concentrated, and sold as hashish. Hashish is made from resin found on ripe flowers, which are rolled into balls and smoked.
2008-02-05T155526Z_01_NOOTR_RTRIDSP_2_HEALTH-DRUGS-DC.jpg
Narcotics
1. Act to reduce pain by suppressing the central nervous system’s ability to relay pain messages to the brain.
2. Include opium and it’s derivatives – heroin and codeine.
3. They are very habit forming.
4. Man-made narcotic painkillers like Tylenol 3 are often abused.
Stimulants
drugs_small.jpg
1. Increase feelings of energy and alertness while suppressing appetite. Depression often results as the effect of the drug wears off.
2. Stimulants include – amphetamines, methamphetamines, and cocaine, and are highly addictive.
3. Key different between amphetamines and methamphetamines is that methamphetamines are more potent.
Anabolic Steroids
1. Promote cell and tissue growth and division.
2. Produced in the laboratory and have a chemical structure similar to testosterone.
3. Were originally used to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes produce abnormally low levels of testosterone.
4. Gained popularity in the 1930’s through weightlifters and bodybuilders because they act to increase body muscle and bone mass.
funny-pictures-steroids-naahhh-0q5.jpg
Depressants

1. Drugs such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, that relieve anxiety and produce sleep.
2. Reduce body functions, such as heart rate, by acting on the central nervous system and increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA, resulting in drowsiness and slowed brain activity. Then the user becomes very calm.
3. Side effects include slurred speech, loss of coordination, and a state of intoxication similar to that of alcohol.
4. An overdose may slow heart rate and breathing and cause coma or death.
5. Mixing depressants with alcohol and other drugs increases their effects.
Other Organic Toxins
1. Organic toxins are substances that are made by living organisms usually proteins that can be absorbed by another living creature and interferes with its metabolism. Usually absorbed through the intestine or skin. A snakebite or bee sting is an example of venom, an organic toxin.
Alcohols
8-842-JOKY000Z.jpgalcoholalcohol
1. All alcohols are toxic to the body
2. The body converts ethanol to acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid. When too much acetaldehyde builds up it produces the symptoms of a hangover. To much over time can lead to death
Bacterial toxins
1. The spores that contain the bacteria can be released into a body.
2. Heating them to 80 degrees Celsius for ten minutes can kill the spores.
Heavy Metals And Pesticides
1. Metal Compounds are poisonous to humans, and can be involved in both homicide and suicide.
2. Arsenic, Lead, and Mercury are considered the most poisonous
3. Metals are kept in the soft tissues of the body, and can damage organs
4. Gasses can also damage the body as well including: Hydrogen Cyanide, Carbon Monoxide, and Potassium Chloride
5. Potassium Chloride is used for Lethal injections, which kills the hart by breaking down the cells ability to deliverer electrical impulses
Bioterrorism Agents
1. The two most well known are Ricin and Anthrax.
2. Ricin is comes from the waste that comes from castor oil, which comes from castor beans. This is considered to be very lethal in humans, and in doses as small as 500 micrograms can be deadly.
3. This can be inhaled in the form of a mist or power, it can be taken into the body by form of food and drink, and it also may be injected into the body. Once in the body, it proceeds to keep them from making any proteins, which in turn leads to death.
4. Anthrax is caused by a bacterium, which forms endo-spores. A spore is an inactive cell that can grow under good conditions in the body. Animals can transmit spores to humans, however humans can’t transmit to other humans.
5. Anthrax enters the body via: inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption.

Vocabulary

- Drugs – chemical substances that affect the processes of the mind or body. Substances used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease. Substances used recreationally for their effects on the mind or body such as a narcotic or hallucinogen.
- Toxicology – the study of poisons and the identification of drugs and other substances a person may have used for medicinal, recreational, or criminal purposes.
- Controlled Substance – a drug or other chemical compound whose manufacture, distribution, possession, and use of is regulated by the legal system.
- Toxicity – the degree to which a substance is poisonous or can cause injury
- Poison – a naturally occurring or manufactured substance that can cause severe harm or death if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
- Toxin – a poisonous substance naturally produced by certain plants, animals, and bacteria that is capable of causing disease or death in humans. A subgroup of poison.
- Acute poisoning- poisoning caused by a high dose over a short period of time (Ex. - inhaling toxins or cyanide ingestion which cause almost immediate symptoms)
- Chronic poisoning - poisoning caused by lower doses over a longer periods of time

Tests

- Exposure to drugs and other toxins may be determined by performing chemical tests to analyze body fluids, stomach contents, skin, hair, or internal organs (liver & vitreous humor fluid of the eye)
- The most common drug & toxicology tests are urine and blood tests but can also be performed on gastric contents (vomit or lavage fluids) if performed soon after substance was ingested.
- For a blood or urine test evidence is taken through urine or blood and this evidence will be screened by an enzyme multiplied immunoassay test (EMIT) to determine which class of drugs are present so that an extraction may be performed to separate that particular drug from the sample. After the extraction is performed, a confirmation is performed by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy (GCMS) on the extracted drug, a report is generated and the case continues.

Case Study

- The death of Georgi Markov and the attack on Vladimir Kostov
Markov defected from Bulgaria and moved to London. While he was walking one day he was stabbed in the leg with the tip of an umbrella. It left a pellet in his leg that contained Ricin. The pellet allowed the Ricin to be spread throughout his blood stream. He died within three days with only two milligrams of Ricin. Kostov had a similar incident ten days earlier but the heavy clothing he was wearing prevented the pellet from allowing the poison to enter the blood stream. He was able to get the pellet out before enough Ricin entered his body to kill him. This is an example of the poison not being able to have full effect if not taken in the body the right way.
- Mary Ansell (1899)
An English housemaid decides to poison her sister (Caroline) in order to obtain an insurance settlement. Mary sent her sister a cake that was poisoned with phosphorous, and it killed her after she ingested it. It was proved that Mary purchased phosphorus in a life insurance using her sister's name. Mary Ansell was then executed in 1899.
HM36~Drugs-Are-Bad-Posters.jpg

Bibliography

- http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/toxtutor/Tox1/amenu.htm
- http://www2.mcdaniel.edu/Biology/eh01/pesticides/metalpesticides.html
- http://www.wvstatepolice.com/crime/tox.htm
- Drug Identification and Toxicology Chapter