Toxicology Lab Receives Two-year Reaccreditation from National Board

American Board of Forensic Toxicology inspectors joined Office of the Chief Medical Examiner toxicology leaders

American Board of Forensic Toxicology inspectors joined Office of the Chief Medical Examiner toxicology leaders for a photo during their visit in March. Left to right, Dr. Justin Brower, ABFT Inspector Dr. Anthony Constantino, ABFT Inspector Dr. Horton McCurdy, Dr. Sandra Bishop-Freeman, and Marc Feaster.

May 22, 2019 – The NC Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the Toxicology Laboratory for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has received reaccreditation from the American Board of Forensic Toxicology. 

The two-year national accreditation, effective May 1, is based upon compliance with professional standards as assessed by peer review, including an onsite inspection and successful achievement in proficiency testing programs. A review team assessed the lab March 4-5. The lab has maintained accreditation since 2015. 

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner serves all 100 counties of the North Carolina Medical Examiner System by providing forensic analytical testing of tissue and fluid specimen and evidence from medical examiner cases. The laboratory is responsible for analytical testing, records maintenance and review of analytical testing for more than 12,000 medical examiner cases annually. The staff, which consists of toxicologists, chemists, laboratory technicians and administrative technicians, performs nearly 28,000 analytical tests each year. 

“Our staff works hard to maintain this accreditation, which is a critical component indicative of our keeping the highest standards of this office,” said Michelle Aurelius, M.D., Interim Chief Medical Examiner, Interim Chief Toxicologist and Deputy Chief Medical Examiner. “It is critical to have this level of accreditation as we present our findings to investigators, courts and to the citizens we serve including the loved ones left behind.” 

The American Board of Forensic Toxicology was organized in 1975 to provide a certification program in forensic toxicology, qualifying forensic scientists who can provide essential professional services for the nation’s judicial and executive branches of government. Lab certification was established in 1996.

Forensic toxicology encompasses the measurement of alcohol, drugs and other toxic substances in biological specimens and interpretation of such results in a medicolegal context. The purpose of the ABFT is to establish and enhance voluntary standards for the practice of forensic toxicology and for the examination and recognition of scientists and laboratories providing forensic toxicology services.