Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences is the state level agency for all forensic investigations for the state of Alabama, United States of America. The Toxicology Discipline of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences provides assistance to local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Alabama for death and criminal investigations.

This assistance includes laboratory analysis of biological specimens for the presence of drugs and poisons. The findings of these analyses are then used to establish cause and manner of death or to explain impairment or performance of an individual pursuant to criminal activity.

The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Toxicology Discipline operates in the Birmingham/Hoover Regional Laboratory. The Toxicology Discipline currently receives and completes in excess of 4000 cases annually. Specimens are submitted from autopsies conducted by medical examiners associated with the Department. 

The bulk of the remaining specimens are submitted by local police and county sheriff departments, Alabama State Troopers and county coroners. All law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in the State of Alabama submit specimens for examination. The state has nine locations and all of them send their toxicology samples to the Birmingham lab for analysis. The department wanted to consolidate testing for all toxicology samples from the four different locations in one facility. They needed an automated high throughput solution to do screening of samples quickly.

Their current ELISA was not able to meet those needs; Dr Harper, Discipline Chief, considered a variety of options and found the Evidence analyser as the best solution for his diagnostic requirements. Biochip Array Technology offered the laboratory a customisable method with a wide menu of immunoassays. Dr Harper chose the tests most relevant to drug abuse within his region and designed a biochip capable of simultaneously analysing 17 desired drug compounds within a single screen. The Evidence analyser and 17 assay biochip screening solution has assisted in a significant decrease in sample turnaround time and increased total analysis capacity.

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