(1) Body Deterioration - This includes signs of malnutrition, poor skin
color, abscesses, etc.
This condition is quite common in the user who is
It is the result of poor self-care due to the
preoccupation with drugs.
(2) "Tracks" - These are the visual evidence of repeated intravenous
The track will follow a vein except in cases of skin-popping.
This results in the blackish discoloration of the vein and eventual collapse.
(3) Rash/Scratched Skin - This is an external body sign of morphine or
f. During your scene investigation, be alert to recognize and relate
seemingly unimportant items or material discussed above.
That way you can
arrive at a justifiable conclusion of narcotic involvement.
Some of these,
both obvious and not so obvious, are discussed below:
(1) Merchandise - This includes small items carried and disposed of.
They may have been stolen to supplement the user's income. Such merchandise
may be radios, portable TVs, and watches.
(2) Narcotic Medication - Laudanum, Paregoric, and Codeine cough syrup
are some of these "carryovers" used until the next fix.
(3) Maalox, Milk of Magnesia - This is medication used to relieve
nausea, vomiting, constipation, cramps, or diarrhea.
(4) Absence of Nutritional Food - This factor may be indicative of a
loss of appetite which is a symptom of poisoning.
(5) "Works" - These are implements or tools used in the taking of
narcotics. They may include the obvious syringe and needle, tourniquet, spoon,
and packet. "Works" may also include cotton balls, belt, razor blades, and wax
paper or envelopes.
(6) Lack of Ordinary Cleanliness - The dependent user is not concerned
in most cases with his environment or health. This is reflected in the way he
(7) Body Fluids - Once poisoned, the body tries to rid itself of
substance by its built-in defense mechanism.
This may be evidenced by
presence of urine, feces, mucus, or vomitus at the scene.
clothing or bedding may be sweat-stained.
This should be collected
g. Historical data must be developed by the investigator before coming to
a conclusion. As a minimum, the following categories of victim history should
(1) Criminal - The victim's police record, if one exists, may indicate
previous indulgence with drugs.