Insufficient Safeguards allow Fraud Committed by Chemist in Drug Lab Scandal

Disgraced Boston chemist Annie Dookhan has admitted to making mistakes during drug testing she conducted for the Massachusetts state lab. She ran tests and labeled drug sample vials with THC, which is marijuana’s active ingredient. When the same tests were run by another chemist for confirmation, the results were not the same. One test showed a trace amount of THC, and another test showed that there was a combination of morphine and codeine.

The vials were given back for re-testing and after Dookhan repeated the tests, the results revealed that the THC in the vials was pure. Dookhan admitted to authorities that she skipped crucial steps and came to preliminary conclusions. A second test is necessary for getting a definitive test result because it allows chemists to identify the control drug for comparison and analyzing. This is considered to be one of the worst things a chemist can do when handling drug samples for testing.

Many believe cameras are needed in crime labs to document screening tests and to make certain the correct procedures are observed. Cameras are not standard in crime labs and the Boston lab did not have cameras installed when Dookhan worked there. 

Dookhan oversaw over 60,000 cases and may have put over one thousands cases of convicted defendants in jeopardy because of her mishandling of the drug test samples. In light of Dookhan’s admitted mistakes, at least twenty inmates have been let out of jail or had their sentences reduced or suspended.

This is one clear and example of how Dookhan’s testing was inaccurate and how it affected the outcome of testing. It also shows how Dookhan was able to get around proper procedure. 

According to forensic experts, the lab seemed to follow the correct procedures and appeared to have proper safeguards in place. Even so, it was determined that these measures were not sufficient enough to keep a chemist from violating the lab’s protocol. 

Dookhan is accused of taking evidence from secure areas of the lab without permission. She is also being accused of putting other chemists’ initials on control records and deliberately tainting samples to make the test come out positive instead of carrying out the necessary first-round tests.

It appears that Dookhan fabricated the tests results to enhance the record of her performance. According to officials, Dookhan compromised the dependability of the thousands of drug tests she has conducted during the nine years she worked at the lab.

According to police, many of Dookhan’s colleagues were suspect of her questionable work ethics and were curious about her high level of positive test results. The other chemists informed their supervisors but not much was done to correct the situation. 

Last week, 34-year old Dookhan was arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and misrepresenting her academic credentials. Dookhan also lied under oath about holding a master’s degree in chemistry.

Are you a victim of the MA Drug Lab Scandal? You may be entitled to compensation. Find out if you have a case.

If you are a victim of the MA Drug Lab Scandal, complete the form on this page or call 1-800-420-1789 for a free no obligation consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your case. 

Find out if you have a case.

If you are a victim of the MA Drug Lab Scandal, complete the form on this page or call 1-800-420-1789 to find out if you may be eligible for compensation.
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