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Emma Palmer, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP
CPNP Programming Committee Member

Psychiatric pharmacists are often asked to provide recommendations for and assessments of quantitative toxicology laboratory results. Whether it’s from a provider or a government agency, questions regarding drug levels post-mortem can be significantly complicated to answer. Despite the unique knowledge pharmacists have in the realms of pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, post-mortem toxicology poses unique challenges. Some challenges involving forensic pharmacokinetics include considerations of significant variability of drug levels in various body parts following death, substances with no known detection methods, and determination of appropriate bodily fluids to sample. Post-mortem medication levels often do not correlate with those observed in living individuals.

Psychiatric pharmacists will have the exciting opportunity to learn from an expert about screening tools and gain a better understanding of forensic toxicology to help enhance their practice. The CPNP 2020 annual meeting in Dallas, Texas April 26-29 will be offering this unique and exciting program. Specifically, this program will provide an informational overview of post-mortem toxicology while reviewing established references and identifying important challenges associated with detecting novel psychoactive substances.

The learning objectives for the program:

  1. Identify forensic toxicology screening tools for psychiatric medications and drugs of abuse.
  2. Explain common post-mortem pharmacokinetic changes to medication levels in various sample types.
  3. Discuss the difficulties in keeping up with the laboratory-based detection of novel psychoactive substances.
  4. Discuss the limitations of published literature on forensic pharmacokinetics.

This program is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday April 29, 2020 at 9:15 AM. On behalf of the programming committee, we hope to see you there!

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