White Paper: Drug Testing Results Often Inaccurate, Unreliable

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from next week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

Drug screening results, including those from federally certified labs, may not always be reliable, according to a white paper published online this week by the National Workrights Institute.

“[Government] certified drug testing laboratories have significant reliability problems and that the government’s assurances that false positive test results are a thing of the past is untrue,” the paper concludes.

The NWI paper bases its conclusion on several key findings. These include:

• “The accuracy of certified labs has never been tested.”

• Government certified labs do not “consistently followed federally mandated procedures for lab accuracy.”

• Federal regulations “allow labs to make mistakes on ten percent of the blind samples used in the certification process.

• “[C]ertified labs do not always maintain a proper chain of custody.”

According to the paper, documented examples of errors by federally certified labs are not uncommon. It finds, “In the last four years alone, one laboratory had its certification revoked and three others had their certification suspended.”

The paper acknowledges that federally certified labs are likely to yield more reliable results than non-certified facilities, but cautions that their procedures may still inadvertently produce false positive results.

Full text of the paper, “Latest Research Reveals New Problems With Drug Testing,” is available online here.

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