FOR5007 - Elements of forensic toxicology - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Forensic Medicine

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Dimitri Gerostamoulos
Associate Professor Richard Bassed


Associate Professor Dimitri Gerostamoulos

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis. For further information please contact the Postgraduate Course Administrator via email or phone 03 9684 4115.

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (Online)


Teaching in this unit aims to develop students' familiarity with the concepts of clinical and post-mortem toxicology. The unit also focuses on the basic pharmacokinetic and pharmacological properties of commonly abused drugs found in forensic medical cases. Emphasis will be on behavioural issues of these drugs and how they relate to forensic practice. Such issues include the effects on cognitive and psychomotor skills in drivers and in the workplace and other adverse reactions attributed to drug misuse.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Appropriately and correctly use technical terms associated with analytical toxicology;
  2. Give examples of the range of techniques used in forensic toxicology and illustrate where they may be applicable;
  3. Discriminate between the common types of drugs seen in forensic medical cases;
  4. Comprehend and evaluate the main pharmacological effects of alcohol and common illicit drugs with the emphasis on their effects on behaviours, psychomotor control and cognition;
  5. Analyse the relevant behavioural effects of common illicit drug combinations and common adverse illicit drug reactions ;
  6. Apply forensic toxicology to case work for the purpose of report preparation and presentation to courts.


  • Case Study 1 (2,000 words) (20%)
  • Case Study 2 (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Workbook (3,000 words) (25%)
  • Presentation (1,000 words) (25%)

Hurdle Requirement

A pass in all elements of assessment is required. Students must obtain at least 50 % of the available marks for each element of assessment to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

It is expected that students will need to undertake approximately 12 hours of study per week over the semester. This will include contact time, private study, assessment tasks (case studies, assignments) and, where possible, involvement in casework. Students are required to attend all workshops offered at the Department of Forensic Medicine during the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

Compulsory 2 day workshop.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: