Unknown Drugs Laced With Unknown Substances: What Happens When The Police Want To Know

Most pharmacies can help you identify medications when you do not have the original bottle or you find a pill laying around in your home that does not match any medications in the house. This is useful to know, since sometimes it can help save a life. In cases where the police find unknown pills that could be laced within unknown substances, however, it takes toxicology consulting services to identify the pills so that the police can make a definitive case and close out said case. Here is what that would look like if you came home and found a loved one deceased next to a bag or handful of pills you cannot identify. 

​Call the Police and Emergency Rescue

​The very first thing you should do is call 911. The police will need to take photographs of the scene, and EMTs will need to confirm if the relative is really deceased. If the relative is actually hanging on by a thread, the EMTs can still attempt to save his/her life. If the relative is really gone, then the EMTs will need to remove the body after the police have confirmed that this is a crime scene. 

​Taking the Pills to a Toxicology Consulting Service

​The police will bag up any loose pills they see and find. DO NOT touch these pills because you would be tampering with evidence! You would also be leaving your fingerprints on the pills, which could wrongfully incriminate you in the death of your loved one. The police will wear gloves to bag up the pills. Then they will take the pills to a toxicologist to have the pills tested while the body will be examined by the coroner's and/or forensic medical examiner's office(s). Sometimes a scene like this is not always what it appears to be, which is why both an autopsy and a toxicology report on the pills are necessary. 

​Determining What Is in the Pills

​The consulting toxicologist will perform all kinds of tests to see what is in the pills. The pills may also be laced with something far more heinous. For example, the pills may just be an innocent pain reliever, but they may have been laced with dangerous levels of heroin or PCP. Once the toxicologist has determined what the pills are, the police take the report back to the medical examiner to see if it matches to the contents of the deceased's stomach and toxins in the blood. If it does, then the cause of death is confirmed. If it does not, the police and the medical examiner have to continue their investigation into the cause of death.

For more information, reach out to toxicology consulting services like Drug Development Consultants.