FSP 402 Forensic Drugs Analysis

Mode of Study -- Online/Distance
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    Course Outline

    One of the major and vast disciplines of Forensic Science, with innumerable probabilities to learn, explore and practice is Forensic Drugs Analysis. With the increasing cases of drug abuse among the youth and its unethical use for doping, this subject has become very vital for the investigators, analysts and medical practitioners. A day by day increase in the illegal drug trade because of its growing demand has posed a threat to the society and the community around.


    Due to a rapid escalation in drink and drive cases for the past few years, police officials all around the world are using Breathalyzer to detect the presence and concentration of alcohol (ethanol) in the blood, commonly termed as Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). In similar manner, various drugs can be detected through biological samples as urine, hair, blood, breath air, sweat, or oral fluid / saliva – to determine the presence or absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites. Along with the above-mentioned facts, there are a few factors which are responsible for an accurate detection period of several drugs. They are: drug class, quantity and regularity of use, metabolic rate, body mass, age, overall health, and urine ph. For ease of use, the detection times of metabolites have been incorporated into each parent drug. For example, heroin and cocaine can only be detected for a few hours after use, but their metabolites can be detected for several days in urine.


    The common drugs of abuse are: Amphetamines (including Methamphetamine), Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Buprenorphine, Cannabinoids (THC), Cocaine, Methadone, Methaqualone, Opioids (Codeine, Morphine, Heroin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, etc.), Phencyclidine (PCP), Propoxyphene, Synthetic cannabinoids (K2, Spice), Tricyclic antidepressants etc.


    The theoretical and practical session on the commonly used drugs of abuse may help the aspiring students in understanding the nature of the specific drug, its mechanism on the body, the activity of the concerned metabolite, the effects produced by the drug on the body, the detection techniques to be employed on acute as well as chronic users, their fatality rate, their post-mortem appearances and the medico-legal aspects of the related drug. The students would also be made aware with certain lethal drug combinations by the discussion of some very famous actual case studies.