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Specimen Collection and Submission

Specimen Collection

Most of the specimens submitted to ISDT are collected using ISDT's toxicological blood evidence collection kits, which are specifically designed to provide specimen protection and chain of custody. If an ISDT kit is not used, blood should be collected using glass gray top vacuum tubes. ISDT will accept blood, plasma, and serum specimens not collected in ISDT kits or gray top tubes, including specimens drawn for the purpose of medical treatment.

See Toxicology Analysis Request Instructions and Form for more details.

Specimen Submission

Evidence Submission Guidelines

Every submission of evidence to ISDT for analysis must include a completed Toxicology Analysis Request Form. Each specimen tube should be labeled with the subject's name, collector's initials, witnessing officer's initials, and the date and time of collection. Once labeled, tubes should be placed in an ISDT kit or, if a kit is not used, in packaging such as a plastic bag. The packaging should be sealed, initialed, and placed in a protective container to prevent breakage and tampering, such as a box, which should then be sealed for transport.

Agencies may deliver specimens to the ISDT drop box in the receiving area of the loading dock at the Forensic and Health Sciences Laboratories, 550 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, IN between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except for state holidays). The ISDT drop box is for submission of ISDT evidence ONLY.

A date/time stamp is available at the drop box site for recording delivery of the evidence on the submitting agency's chain of custody. ISDT will begin a chain of custody documenting receipt of the evidence from the drop box or by mail and will continue the chain of custody while the evidence remains in its custody.

Agencies may mail specimens to the Indiana State Department of Toxicology, Suite A, 550 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, IN  46202. A traceable mail service is preferred.

Low Volume Submissions

The volume of blood required for alcohol analysis is 0.6 mL, and the volume required for a drug screen is 0.6 mL, with each drug confirmation test requiring up to an additional 1 mL.

When testing for drugs is requested, and the volume of specimen received by ISDT is 3 mL or less, ISDT will contact the submitting agency and associated prosecutor’s office to request a prioritization of alcohol or drug testing or testing for a specific suspected drug or drugs, as applicable.

The deadline for a response to a request for prioritization of testing is two weeks from the date of the ISDT request. If no response is received by the deadline, ISDT will determine priority of testing based on the information available from the evidence submission.

Specimen Collection Time Differences

When multiple blood specimens are submitted to ISDT, and specimen collection times vary from one another by more than 15 minutes, ISDT will test the specimen with the earliest collection time, and, as needed, testing of additional specimens will be completed in order of earliest to latest collection time.

Postmortem Samples

ISDT will test the specimen with the earliest collection time (i.e., hospital blood before postmortem blood). If multiple postmortem specimens are submitted, ISDT will prioritize testing of an extremity specimen (i.e., femoral) over cavity blood unless the submitting agency notes a different preference on the Toxicology Analysis Request.

For specimen retention policy, see Policies.