The toxicology laboratory serves the City of Philadelphia by providing analyses of postmortem specimens for drugs of abuse, prescription drugs and poisons. The lab is responsible for analytical testing, specimen and record maintenance, and interpretation of analytical testing results on over 2,000 cases each year. The staff, which consists of a toxicologist, five chemists, and a technician, uses state of the art instrumentation to perform nearly 20,000 analyses each year.
Data collected by the toxicology lab helps our pathologists determine cause and manner of death on many cases; it is also used by other City agencies and the Drug Enforcement Agency to track trends in drug abuse and to direct City resources to areas of the city that most need them.
The toxicology laboratory keeps samples suitable for DNA testing for a period of at least one year after the date of death. For many cases additional samples are kept for several years. Learn more about DNA samples and requirements.
If you still have questions, or to inform the lab that you need a DNA sample held for longer than a year, please contact us at 215-685-7460.
Did you know…in an average year, there are more deaths attributable to drugs in the City of Philadelphia than are attributable to homicidal violence.