Mugs, Thugs And Drugs — Tom Richardson — 28th July 2014

Yes, a catchy and intriguing title which became clearer as the present­a­tion developed.

Tom retired in 2001 from the Toxicology Laboratories in Manchester provid­ing ser­vices to hos­pit­als, the police, forensic sci­ence ser­vices and patho­lo­gists from Crewe to Kendal.   He helped with autop­sies and cases where there was a need to detect pois­ons, exam­ine cases of drug abuse and non crim­inal forensic work. In short,  his work involved the exam­in­a­tion of body parts and body fluids to assist in estab­lish­ing the causes of death and ill­ness.  The detec­tion equip­ment used  had developed con­sid­er­ably during his career and he described the fea­tures of such exotic sound­ing equip­ment( at least to us)  from the simple spec­tro­scope to the Hartridge rever­sion spec­tro­scope,  from the latest scan­ning spec­tro­pho­to­meter to gas chro­ma­to­graphs,  All of which were used to ana­lyse blood, urine and other fluids.

He illus­trated his work by describ­ing sev­eral con­trast­ing case stud­ies and the title  ‘Mugs, Thugs and Drugs’ became much clearer.

The stud­ies involved prob­lems which sadly are as common today as they were then.  Problems such as child neg­lect, poor par­ent­ing, binge drink­ing, drug abuse (or more pre­cisely mis­taken drug abuse), pill pop­ping and the sad­ness of the atten­tion seek­ing dis­order.  All solved with advanced ana­lyt­ical tech­niques. The talk promp­ted many ques­tions from the floor.

An inter­est­ing morn­ing.