Division of Forensic Toxicology

Mission Statement

The Division of Forensic Toxicology is an entity of the Nassau County Office of the Medical Examiner that provides toxicology testing and other related expert services for the Medical Examiner. The laboratory’s mission, therefore, is to conduct forensically defensible scientific analyses for the presence or absence of chemical therapeutics or toxins (xeno-biotics) on specimens secured at autopsy, hospital/organ donation specimens, evidence collected from death investigation scenes and from specimens submitted by law enforcement agencies. 

The Toxicology Laboratory is comprised of two sections, Postmortem and Human Performance Testing. The Postmortem testing section assists in the medico-legal investigation of approximately 1000 medical examiner cases per year. The Human Performance testing section performs testing on specimens submitted in suspected driving while intoxicated (DWI) or drug impaired driving (DUID) cases. The laboratory will ensure accurate and reliable results through its quality management system. 

The results of all analyses are detailed in toxicological reports which become part of the autopsy or DWI/DUID case record.  Results are conveyed to the Medical Examiner, District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement agencies and may be used in criminal and civil proceedings. Toxicology results may be provided to other county agencies in the event a toxic exposure presents an ongoing danger to the community. In addition, non-case specific statistics may be provided to other Nassau County agencies in an effort to identify trends in drug and alcohol use.

In accordance with NYS 9 CRR-Part 6190, the Division of Forensic Toxicology Laboratory must maintain NYS accreditation in the discipline of forensic toxicology. Therefore, the laboratory’s technical operations and management system is accredited by ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) with conformation to ISO 17025:2017 and ANAB AR 3125 accreditation standards.

**The laboratory does not provide analysis for private citizens or civil litigations.**

Information for Submitting Agencies

  • The Division of Forensic Toxicology laboratory will accept evidence submitted by Nassau County agencies including the Medical Examiner’s office, District Attorney and law enforcement.
  • Evidence can be submitted through the Nassau County Police Department Evidence Management Unit or through direct submission to the laboratory. 
    • Refer to the Nassau County Webconnect – Medical Examiner site for specific requirements and guidelines for evidence submittal.
  • The Division of Forensic Toxicology laboratory is responsible for determining the appropriate test methods utilized for analysis.
    • Refer to the Nassau County Webconnect – Medical Examiner site for a scope of the testing provided.  
  • By submitting evidence to the Division of Forensic Toxicology laboratory, the agency accepts the laboratory’s right to approve additions, deviations, or exclusions from test methods utilized for analysis.
  • Information may be provided periodically to the criminal justice system who have a need and right to know.  All other information is considered proprietary information and shall be regarded as confidential, except while conducting official departmental business or unless a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) is requested.

Contact Us

  1. Chief Toxicologist:
    Joseph Avella, Ph.D.

    QA/QC Coordinator:
    Timothy Hahn

    General Laboratory Inquiries
    Mailing Address 
    Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office
    Division of Forensic Toxicology
    2251 Hempstead Tpk. Bldg. R
    East Meadow, NY 11554

    (516) 572-5183


    For inquiries on autopsy reports, death certificates or FOIL requests please contact:

    (516) 572-6400