Sedative Hypnotics & Muscle Relaxers: Core Concepts

Course Description:
This course is the first in our Core Concepts Series, which reviews potentially impairing drug classes from three scientific perspectives: Pharmacology, Forensic Toxicology, and Clinical Toxicology. A future supplemental series will add law enforcement and DRE perspectives for each drug class as well.

The term “sedative hypnotics” refers to drugs that induce relaxation (sedation) and/or sleep (hypnosis). This class includes benzodiazepines, barbiturates, z-hypnotics (zolpidem, etc.), and others.

Muscle relaxers are drugs designed to relive pain from dysfunctional muscle behavior and may work through multiple different pathways. Some muscle relaxers exert effects on the central nervous system and may impair a patient’s ability to perform complex tasks safely.

This course will begin with pharmacology of the drug classes and then review effects on driving, unique characteristics, pharmacokinetics, and expected concentrations of individual drugs, and other forensic considerations. The course will be closed out by a medical toxicologist sharing perspectives from emergency medicine, which can provide valuable insight to forensic practitioners on drug interactions, pathophysiology, FDA warnings, clinical presentation of overdose cases, withdrawal syndromes, and other unique considerations that may be scarce in traditional forensic education.

Note: This course is best received by learners with a knowledge of basic pharmacology principles, but can prove beneficial to anyone responsible for interacting with drug impaired individuals or interpretating corresponding incidents.

Recommended Learners:
Sedative Hypnotics CC Cover
Amanda Mohr, MSFS, D-ABFT-FT

Amanda Mohr, MSFS, D-ABFT-FT

Ms. Amanda (Mandi) LA Mohr serves as an Associate Director at the CFSRE working in the area of forensic toxicology and is the Program Director for the Forensic Sciences Mentoring Institute program. Ms. Mohr is also an adjunct professor in both Arcadia University’s Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) program as well as in Thomas Jefferson University’s Master of Science in Forensic Toxicology (MSFT) program. See full bio. 

Dr. Richard Chen, MD

Dr. Richard Chen, MD

Dr. Richard Chen is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and is a board-certified medical toxicologist and emergency physician. Dr. Chen received his MD degree from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ. He subsequently completed Medical Toxicology Fellowship at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he has remained as faculty. See full bio. 

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