Toxicology Section

August 30, 2020

The function of the Toxicology Section is to analyze biological specimens in order to detect alcohol, volatiles, and/or drugs in investigations related to driving while intoxicated (DWI), sexual assault, and homicide.

Alcohol/volatiles analysis uses headspace gas chromatography to identify alcohol and/or volatiles and quantitate ethanol. If drug analysis is also requested and the ethanol level is below a certain level (0.100 g/100mL), the evidence will be forwarded to the DPS Austin Toxicology section for further analysis. The Crime Laboratory offers alcohol/volatile testing in ten regional laboratory sites.

Immunoassay screening of blood and urine detects drug classes present in a sample.  Specific drugs from within the drug class detected are identified with confirmation analysis by GCMS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry) or LCMS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry).  Analysis may include determination of the drug concentration in the blood for interpretive purposes.