ETSU’s Dr. Ken Ferslew pens portions of ‘bible in forensic toxicology’


JOHNSON CITY (December 3, 2014) – Dr. Kenneth Ferslew, a forensic toxicologist at East Tennessee State University’s William L. Jenkins Forensic Center and biomedical sciences professor in the Quillen College of Medicine, has authored two chapters in a book he lovingly refers to as “the bible on toxicology.”

The sixth edition of “Garriott’s Medicolegal Aspects of Alcohol” was published in October by Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc.

“It is the bible in forensic toxicology concerning issues of alcohol,” Ferslew said. “It includes anything of critical significance to a forensic toxicologist, police investigator, attorneys, the courts.”

The book is designed to provide up-to-date and authoritative information on alcohol in all aspects of its involvement in forensic sciences.

According to a summary of the book by the publishing company, forensic alcohol analysis is the most frequently performed of all forensic laboratory tests. It is extremely important, the publisher notes, that alcohol analyses be performed accurately and the results properly interpreted.

Ferslew wrote one chapter on the epidemiologic basis of alcohol-induced psychomotor performance impairment. The chapter talks about studies done all over the world and in all 50 states related to how laws should be written, the need for data to substantiate the definition of impaired and more.

“It took a lot of time because of all the data involved in it,” Ferslew said. “But it was a lot of fun.”

In his other chapter included in the book, Ferslew covers the topic of experimental basis of alcohol-induced psychomotor performance in which he discusses how to prove someone was impaired, how to measure psychomotor performance and more.

“It talks about reaction time, coordination, reflex, cognition,” he said. “Alcohol removes reasoning, judgment and a lot of the things that go into the cognitive component of your complex reactions like driving a car.”

The first edition of the book was published some 50 years ago. Each new edition provides updated science and information, new authors with special expertise as well as expanded and new sections.

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