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Introduction to Drug Caused and Related Death Investigation
When: September 23rd – 24th: 12pm – 4pm (EST)
Level: Introductory concepts for support team members and death scene responders
Target audience: Medicolegal death investigators, coroners, medical examiners, law enforcement, toxicologists, introduction for persons interested in careers in medicolegal death investigation.
Content: This is an introductory module concerning the investigation of death scenes with a focus on drug overdose and drug related deaths. Its primary purpose is to introduce new death investigators, coroners, and law enforcement personnel to best practices of drug death scene investigation and documentation. It will introduce major drug categories encountered in drug deaths, and their effects, personal protection from potential drug exposure at scenes, medication/prescription records review, an overview of laboratory practices that assists in evaluation of drug involvement causing death and working with toxicologists to order appropriate testing and result interpretation. An extensive glossary of toxicology related terms including common and illicit drugs will be provided.
The Evaluation and Certification of Drug Caused and Related Deaths for Forensic Pathologists, Toxicologists and Death Investigators
When: October 27th – 29th: 12pm – 4pm each day (EST)
Level: Intermediate level detail for individuals familiar with death investigation practices for professionals involved in routine medicolegal investigation of drug caused and related death
Target audience: Forensic pathologists, medical examiners, coroners, medicolegal death investigators, forensic toxicologists, physicians, introduction for medical students, residents and fellows to careers in forensic pathology.
Content: This course focuses on deepening understanding of drug involved death, leading to the interpretation of toxicology results as they relate to determining if drugs caused or contributed to death. It reviews toxicology and pharmacology including mechanisms of how drugs cause death. Drug categories addressed include illicit, prescribed, and over-the-counter medications with a focus on opioids, stimulants, and novel psychoactive substances. It will review the NAME autopsy guidelines and CDC guidance for the certification of drug caused and related death. Special attention will be paid to accurately recording of all drugs relevant to the cause of death in keeping with CDC requirements. The module will include an overview of what happens in the toxicology laboratory, basics of how testing is approached, sampling and storage best practices, matrix types, laboratory methods, and drug concentration evaluation are reviewed. The recommended approach for completion of the death certificate will be reviewed, with critical concepts being illustrated through case examples.
Specialized Forensic Toxicology, Pathology and Certification of Drug Related Death for Forensic Pathologists
When: December 1st – 2nd: 12pm – 4pm each day (EST)
Level: Expert level detail for individuals familiar with death investigation practices for professionals involved in complex medicolegal investigation of drug caused and related death
Target audience: Forensic pathologists, medical examiners, coroners, medicolegal death investigators, forensic toxicologists, forensic pathology fellows and residents.
Content: This is an advanced course designed specifically for forensic pathologists and toxicologists with moderate to extensive experience in medicolegal death investigation casework. It is recommended that Module II “The Evaluation and Certification of Drug Caused and Related Deaths for Forensic Pathologists, Toxicologists and Death Investigators” be completed prior to taking this course (see above). The main topics covered will include expert level review of the current analytical approaches and workflows employed in the postmortem laboratory such as immunoassay and mass spectrometry, and interpretation of toxicology results for specialized circumstances to include drug-delivery-resulting-in-death (“but-for”), drug use with restraint, hospital, and pediatric and palliative care deaths, exhumations, US Drug early warning systems, and other emergent topics.