Adapting Blood Testing Procedures to Forensic Toxicology

The standard method for collecting and storing blood samples from newborns might be useful for forensic toxicology.

In newborn units at hospitals across the United States, a few drops of blood are routinely taken from every baby’s heel, dried on paper, and then tested for a host of diseases and genetic issues. This well-established procedure has been in use for decades and is considered important in screening for problems not immediately apparent when a baby is born. That same procedure, known as dried blood spot (DBS) testing, can be used in forensic toxicology examinations and would benefit both forensic laboratories and the judicial system, according to researchers from RTI. The researchers, supported by an NIJ award, found that DBS analysis could produce results comparable to traditional drug analysis.

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