Crime Lab Toxicology Section Earns Accreditation
HELENA — Attorney General Mike McGrath said Wednesday that the toxicology section of the state’s crime lab in Missoula recently received accreditation by the American Board of Forensic Toxicologists (ABFT). The Montana lab becomes just the 14th in North America to receive the accreditation.
“This is especially gratifying since it comes from the lab’s peers in the toxicology field,” McGrath said. “It demonstrates the high degree of competence and professionalism we have in the Montana lab.”
ABFT is a non-profit organization that establishes standards of qualification for labs that practice forensic toxicology. Accreditation is based is based upon compliance with rigorous professional standards, including peer review, an on-site inspection and success in one or more proficiency testing programs recognized by the ABFT.
The Montana lab’s toxicology section analyzes biological samples for the presence of drugs, poisons and other toxins. Staff members often assist in determining the cause of death and they may check for evidence of drug use for people on probation or parole. The tox section also works on cases determining the presence of “date rape” drugs and cases related to impaired driving.
The Crime Lab is also in the process of seeking general accreditation through the American Society of Crime Lab Directors. Lab director Bill Unger said he expects the lab’s application for the ASCLD certification to be complete by January 2004.
(For more information on the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, see www.abft.org.)