In 2007, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported on 2004 data collected from the Census of Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices (CMEC). The CMEC was one of the first comprehensive reports on the state of the medicolegal death investigation system in the United States and included information on administration, expenditure, workload, specialized death investigations, records and evidence retention, and resources. However, the report did not include responses on questions that were related to toxicology such as specimen retention and type of testing. The purpose of this publication is to provide the community with toxicology laboratory-specific responses from nearly 2000 medical examiner and coroner (MEC) offices. Data obtained from a BJS CMEC public use dataset for any remaining information that was not reported in the 2007 BJS report were evaluated specific to the operation of toxicology laboratories within a MEC office or specific to toxicology testing. The CMEC includes information on average operating budget for MEC offices with internal or external toxicology services, budget for toxicology/microbiology services, respondents' routine uses of toxicology analysis, toxicology specimen retention time, average turnaround times, use of computerized information management systems, and participation in federal data collections. These historical data begin to address the present state of our nation's toxicology laboratories within the medicolegal death investigation system and their preparedness for the current drug overdose epidemic.
A census of medicolegal death investigation in the United States
A need to determine the state of our nation's toxicology laboratories and their preparedness for the current drug overdose epidemic
Ropero-Miller, J. D., Smiley-McDonald, H. M., Zimmer, S. A., & Bollinger, K. M. (2020). A census of medicolegal death investigation in the United States: A need to determine the state of our nation's toxicology laboratories and their preparedness for the current drug overdose epidemic. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 65(2), 544-549. https://doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.14277