Pennsylvania-based Forensic toxicologist Daniel Isenschmid took the stand during George Floyd’s trial on Thursday and told the court that he tested Floyd’s blood and found it contained methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Isenschmid also found norfentanyl in Floyd’s system—a metabolite of fentanyl that indicates the body has started to break down fentanyl. He also suggested that patients who die from overdosing on fentanyl usually do not have the metabolite in their system, CBS News reported.
“When we see very recent deaths with fentanyl, we frequently see fentanyl with no norfentanyl whatsoever,” he said.
He also testified that Floyd’s level of methamphetamine was “exceptionally low” when compared to data samples of under-influence drivers that also had meth in their systems.
“In terms of the ratio, was Mr. Floyd’s ratio more similar to the driving population where people were alive or more similar to the postmortem population where people were dead?” a prosecutor asked Isenschmid.
”It was more similar to the DUI population,” Isenschmid said.
According to the Washington Post, the level of methamphetamine found in Floyd’s blood (19 nanograms per milliliter) was “low,” Isenschmid added, “approximately the amount that you find in the blood of somebody that was given a single dose of methamphetamine as a prescribed drug.”
Pulmonologist Martin Tobin supported the toxicologist’s testimony by saying that there were no fentanyl-related signs of depression in Floyd’s breathing that would have played a factor in his low oxygen level while being restrained by Derek Chauvin.
“Did you see any depression in Mr. Floyd’s ability to breathe whatsoever before he went unconscious?” prosecutors asked.
“Absolutely not,” the breathing expert replied.
Chauvin’s defense team wanted to focus their argument on the traces of the drugs found in Floyd’s body during Thursday’s trial. At one point, the team used the words “fentanyl” and “methamphetamine” 20 times in a matter of minutes, the Post reported.
Still, Tobin stood firm on his testimony when asked if a person’s respiratory center would be affected by the substances.
“Fentanyl is not going to have an effect on respiration by some other mechanism,” he responded.