FOR5025 - Forensic pharmacology - 2019

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 Richard Bassed


Professor Olaf Drummer

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.

Not offered in 2019




Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate degree


This unit builds on FOR2007, an introductory unit in aspects of forensic toxicology of relevance to forensic practitioners with a medical background, to deliver more advanced knowledge in drug detection techniques and use of alternative specimens to assist in investigations, teaching of advanced pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, drug interactions and aspects of pharmacogenomics relevant to students with both biomedical science and medical backgrounds.

All learnings are illustrated with case examples to illustrate practical relevance to future careers.


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

  1. Articulate the specialist applications for specimens in particular types of cases where drug involvement is suspected.
  2. Critically evaluate key elements to initiate an investigation where drug involvement is suspected.
  3. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the concepts of advanced analytical practice with its strengths and limitations in relation to drug detection.
  4. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of complex pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics responses to drugs and be able to apply this to relevant cases.
  5. Articulate the various types of drug interactions of relevance to forensic medicine and their relevance to drug actions.
  6. Explain and evaluate the common types of genetic variations that can significantly modify drug effects.
  7. Review and evaluate the key elements involved in cases where drug use has modified behaviour, e.g. in drug facilitated assaults.


  • Essay (2,000 words) (20%)
  • Case study 1 (1,000 words) (20%)
  • Case study 2 (1,000 words) (20%)
  • Case study 3 (1,000 words) (20%)
  • Workbook (1,000 words) (20%)

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 private study (text and readings), assessment tasks (case studies, assignments), and may include involvement in case work.

Video-based materials including key lectures will also be available.

See also Unit timetable information

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