This is a prime example of why drug testing can not be trusted. A single person was able to tamper with thousands of drug test which may have caused thousands of innocent people to lose their freedom.
Police said the former state crime lab chemist admitted that she altered or faked test results of drug cases assigned to her. Prosecutors said she went as far as adding cocaine to samples that were negative.
“There was clearly a short cutting of corners,” State Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “There was just getting this done as quickly as possible and all of that we’re looking at.”
Officials said during her nine years the lab, Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples. About 11,000 people now in jail were put there in part due to her work.
Already more than a dozen have been released because of questions about how she handled evidence.
source: Massachusetts lab tech arrested for alleged improper handling of drug tests
What might surprise most people is there is little oversight on drug testing. We have guidelines we most follow, but it is very easy to take shortcuts and cut corners. This could lead to people losing their jobs, children, and freedom. Whats worse about this situation is this drug testing lab tech in questions did not calibrate machines correctly, altered the weight of samples, faked positive tests for illegal substances. One major issue that should of been noticed about this lab tech was she could process three times as many samples as her colleagues, so it was obvious something wrong was going on and no one was competent enough to notice. And of course, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health downplayed the whole situation, saying that this was isolated to 90 samples processed on one day. And of course, thousands of possible innocent people went to jail because no one wanted to take responsibility for this.
This is not an isolated incident either, The Indiana State Toxicology Department made serious costly mistakes earlier this year too.
Criminal cases are now in jeopardy due to flawed evidence from the Indiana State Department of Toxicology.
The Indiana Supreme Court released a statement Tuesday, stating they were aware of the revelations.
The lab provided incorrect test results in at least five cases involving drugs. The Supreme Court report indicated there were problems with 500 other samples.
“Of those 500, some 497 individuals pled guilty to associated crimes,” read the report. “Of the information the Department has supplied so far, it appears that 18 of the individuals whose results have been retested are currently incarcerated.”
source: Incorrect drug tests found from state toxicology department
With state budgets be slashed because of massive state deficits, states labs will begin to cut staff and over work the remainder of the techs. This will lead to lab techs taking shorts cuts and mixing up samples.