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J Anal Toxicol. 2004 Mar;28(2):135-7.

Strychnine overdose following ingestion of gopher bait.

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New Mexico Department of Health, Scientific Laboratory Division, Toxicology Bureau, Albuquerque 87196-4700, USA.


A 52-year-old male was discovered supine on his bed in a state of early decomposition. Commercial strychnine-treated gopher pellets were found in the home, and suicide notes were present at the scene. Biological fluids and tissues were tested for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Concentrations of strychnine in heart and femoral blood were 0.96 and 0.31 mg/L, respectively. Vitreous fluid, bile, urine, liver, and brain specimens contained 0.36 mg/L, 1.17 mg/L, 2.92 mg/L, 4.59 mg/kg, and 0.86 mg/kg strychnine, respectively. No other drugs were detected in any of the samples. The cause of death was attributed to rodenticide poisoning, and the manner of death was suicide.

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