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Articles from Aids To Forensic Medicine And Toxicology


The Inebriates Acts

Definition Of A Poison

Examination Of Persons Of Unsound Mind

Poisonous Fungi And Toxic Foods

Contused Wounds And Injuries Unaccompanied By Solution Ofcontinuity

Sale Of Poisons; Scheduled Poisons

Death By Drowning

Potash Soda And Ammonia

Iodine--iodide Of Potassium

Action Of Poisons; Classification Of Poisons

=Action of Poisons.=--They may act either locally or only after
absorption into the system.

1. Local Action, as seen in (a) corrosive poisons; (b) irritant
poisons, causing congestion and inflammation of the mucous
membranes--e.g., metallic and vegetable irritants; (c) stimulants or
sedatives to the nerve endings, as aconite, conium, cocaine.

2. Remote Action.--This may be of reflex character, as seen in the
shock produced by the pain caused by corrosive poisons, or the poison
may exert a special action on certain structures, as belladonna on the
cells of the brain, strychnine on the motor nerve cells of the spinal

3. In Both Ways.--Certain poisons, as carbolic or oxalic acids, act in
this way.

Age, idiosyncrasy, tolerance, and disease, all exert modifying
influences on the action of a poison. The form in which the poison is
swallowed and the quantity also determine its action. In the gaseous
form, poisons act most rapidly and fatally. When in solution and
injected hypodermically, they also act very rapidly. In the solid form
they act as a rule slowly, and may even set up vomiting, and so may be
entirely ejected by vomiting. Poisons act most energetically when the
stomach is empty. If taken when the stomach already contains food,
solution and absorption may be greatly delayed.

Some poisons are cumulative in their action, and thus, even if
infinitesimal doses be swallowed each day, there is a certain amount of
storage in the tissues (though a certain percentage of the poison is
being constantly eliminated), and at last symptoms of poisoning show

=Classification of Poisons.=--As an aid to memory, the following
classification is perhaps the best:

I. Inorganic.

1. Corrosive acids and alkalies, and caustic salts (carbolic and
oxalic acids also).
2. Irritant--practically all the metals and the metalloids (I. Cl.
Br. P.).

II. Organic.

{ Animal--venomous bites, food poisoning, cantharides.
1. Irritant { Vegetable--all strong purgatives, hellebores, savin,
{ yew, ergot, hemlock, laburnum, bryony, etc.

2. Neuronic.

(a) Somniferous--opium and its alkaloids.
(b) Deliriant--belladonna, hyoscyamus, stramonium, cannabis,
cocaine, cocculus, camphor, fungi.
(c) Inebriants--alcohol, ether, chloral, carbolic acid (weak),
benzol, aniline, nitro-glycerine.

3. Sedative or depressant.

(a) Neural--conium, lobelia, tobacco, physostigma.
(b) Cerebral--hydrocyanic acid.
(c) Cardiac--aconite, digitalis, colchicum, veratrum.

4. Excito-motory or convulsives--nux vomica, strychnine.

5. Vulnerants--powdered glass.

III. Asphyxiants.

Poisonous and irrespirable gases.

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