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State crime lab to do toxicology tests dropped by medical examiner

MIDDLETOWN — The state crime lab will now perform toxicology testing in many homicide, motor vehicle and other cases, after the Chief Medical Examiner’s O...

MIDDLETOWN — The state crime lab will now perform toxicology testing in many homicide, motor vehicle and other cases, after the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office eliminated that testing.

Dora Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, announced the move Friday. She said the testing is vital to criminal investigations and court proceedings.

Chief Medical Examiner James Gill announced in May his office would no longer perform toxicology testing in deaths clearly due to trauma including homicides and motor vehicle deaths. Gill says his staff is overwhelmed because of budget cuts and more autopsies due mainly to drug overdoses.

There were 729 accidental drug intoxication deaths in Connecticut in 2015, up from 568 in 2014. The office performed about 2,200 autopsies last year, up from about 1,700 in 2014.