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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Forensic science: Drugs & other chemicals

A guide to finding (mostly published) information in forensic science. By Ellen Sexton.

Drug information databases

Drug Information Portal (National Library of Medicine)  physical, chemical, and physiological characteristics of drugs & their toxicity, consumer information and references from scientific journals.

ChemIDPlus (National Library of Medicine) is a chemical dictionary file - use it to get information about a compound including structure, synonyms, physical properties, toxicity and much more.  Access to a cluster of databases covering information on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health and related areas including Household Products Database.    ,

PUBCHEM  (National Library of Medicine)   for the biological activities of small molecules.

TOXNET (TOXicology Data NETwork) has been retired by the National Library of Medicine - instead, use ChemIDplus.

ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database providing fast access to over 29 million structures, properties and associated information.   It is created by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom.   Integrates and links compounds from more than 440 data sources.

ChEBI  (Chemical Entities of Biological Interest) is a freely available dictionary of molecular entities focused on ‘small’ chemical compounds. The term ‘molecular entity’ refers to any constitutionally or isotopically distinct atom, molecule, ion, ion pair, radical, radical ion, complex, conformer, etc., identifiable as a separately distinguishable entity. The molecular entities in question are either products of nature or synthetic products used to intervene in the processes of living organisms.  From the European Bioinformatics Institute. 

ChEMBL is a publicly available database of drugs, drug-like small molecules and their targets. The database is unique because of its focus on all aspects of drug discovery and its size, containing information on more than 1 million compounds and over 5 million records of their effects on biological systems. From the European Bioinformatics Institute. 

IPCS INCHEM.  Internationally reviewed chemical safety information from intergovernmental organizations.  Rapid access to internationally peer reviewed information on chemicals commonly used throughout the world, which may also occur as contaminants in the environment and food. It consolidates information from a number of intergovernmental organizations whose goal it is to assist in the sound management of chemicals.  Includes safey sheets, poison documents, etc.

DrugBank database is a unique bioinformatics and cheminformatics resource that combines detailed drug (i.e. chemical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical) data with comprehensive drug target (i.e. sequence, structure, and pathway) information. From Canada.

WHO: International Programme on Chemical Safety.  Through the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), WHO works to establish the scientific basis for the sound management of chemicals, and to strengthen national capabilities and capacities for chemical safety.


Where's Chem Abstracts /SciFinder ?   We don't subscribe - it's just too expensive. Students at the  City College Science Library and the CUNY Graduate Center library have access to it through a database called SciFinder Scholar.

Reference books for toxicology and other special forensic topics


Casarett & Doull's Toxicology. 2013. 8th edition.  Reserves RA1215.C37 2013.

Color atlas of forensic pathology.  2000.  CRC Press.  Also available as an electronic book.  

Comprehensive toxicology (13 vol). Reference RA 1199.C648 1997.

Courtroom toxicology. Reference RA 1228.H68. 

CRC Handbook of basic tables for chemical analysis. 3rd edition. 2010. Electronic book.

CRC Handbook of chemistry and physics. Annual. QD65.H3

Criminal poisoning : investigational guide for law enforcement, toxicologists, forensic scientists, and attorneys.  Stacks - RA 1228 .T74 2000.  Also available as an electronic book. 

Design and analysis in chemical research. Reference QD75.4.S8 D48 2000

Detecting forgery. Reference HV 8074.N53 1996

Disposition of toxic drugs and chemicals in man. 7th edition. (Arranged in alphabetical order of the drug name). Reference  RM301.55 .B37 2004.

Encyclopedia of toxicology. 3rd edition.  (2014). Wexler, P (Ed.)  Elsevier. Available as an electronic book.

Forensic neuropathology.  2nd edition.  Ref RA 1147. L44 2009

Handbook of autopsy practice.   Reference  RB57. L8 2002.

Handbook of forensic toxicology for medical examiners. 2010.  CRC Press. Electronic book.

Handbook of toxicologic pathology, 2nd edition. Reference   RA1211 .H3196 2002

Hayes Principles and methods of toxicology. RA 1211. P74 2001

Principles of forensic toxicology. Reference RA1228.P75 1999

Resolving Erroneous Reports in Toxicology and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: A Comprehensive Guide. 2012.



Advances in forensic applications of mass spectrometry.  (Yinon).  2004.  Stacks HV8073.5 .A38 2004.  Also available as an electronic book.

Atlas of human hair: Microscopic characteristics.  2nd edition.  CRC Press. 1999.  Electronic book

Ballistics: Theory and Design of Guns and Ammunition. (2007). Carlucci, D. &  Jacobson, S.  CRC Press 2007.  Electronic book.
Bitemark evidence.  Stacks RA1062 .B58  2005
Chemistry foundations and applications. 4 volume encyclopedia. Reference QD4.C48 2004

Color atlas and manual of microscopy for criminalists, chemists and conservators. Reference - QH205.2 .P486 2004.

Encyclopedia of climate and weather. Reference QC 854.E523 2011

Encyclopedia of DNA & the U.S. criminal justice system. Ref   RA1057.55 P34 2004.

Essential guide to blood groups.  2010.  Wiley-Blackwell. Electronic book.

Forensic anthropology and medicine.  Stacks RA1059 .F672  2006

Forensic human identification   Stacks RA1055 .F67  2007  

Handbook of firearms and ballistics. 2nd edition.  Heard, B. . 2008. Electronic book.

Handbook of forensic drug analysis. Reference RA 1160.H36 2005.

Pigment compendium: a dictionary of historical pigments.  Reference TP 936. P575 2004. 

Questioned documents: A lawyer's handbook.  Reference  HV 8074 .L48 2001.

Rape investigation handbook.  Reference HV 8079.R35R36 2005

Terminal Ballistics:  A Text and Atlas of Gunshot Wounds.  Dodd, M. (2005). CRC Press.  Electronic book.

Truth machine: the contentious history of DNA fingerprinting.  Ref RA 1057 .55 .L96 2008

REFERENCE BOOKS - chemistry & biochemistry

Chemistry: Foundations and applications. A 4 volume encyclopedia. Reference QD4.C48 2004


Advances in forensic applications of mass spectrometry.  (Yinon).  2004.  Print format in Stacks at HV8073.5 .A38 2004.

Annual book of ASTM standards. Volume 14:02 General test methods; forensic psychophysiology; terminology; conformity assessment; statistical methods.  (note- contains sections on forensic science and forensic psychophysiology).     Reference Q199.  A6 2002. 

Clarke's Analysis of drugs and poisons.  3rd edition.  Reference RS189 .C52 2004. 

GC-MS guide to ignitable liquids.  Reference HV 8073.N47 1998.

Drugs: Synonyms and properties. Reference RS51.D776 2002.

Handbook of analytical separations:  Volume 6.  Forensic science.  2nd edition. (good for toxicology)  Reference - QD63 .S4 H36 

Handbook of basic tables for chemical analysis. Print format at Reference QD 78.B78 2003. 

Handbook of chemistry and physics. 86th ed, 2005-6. Reference QD 65.43.

Handbook of forensic drug analysis. Reference RA 1160.H36 2005.

HPLC methods for pharmaceutical analysis. Reference RS 1895.5.H54 L77 1997

Instrumental data for drug analysis. ( Note - we have volume 1 only, of the 2nd edition.  )Reference - RS 189 .M54 1993 

NIOSH manual of analytical methods.  Now available free on the web! 

Pigment compendium: a dictionary of historical pigments.  Reference TP 936. P575 2004.