Even scientific labs show the systemic corruption of the drug war

Indiana has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law. This is a horribly unjust kind of law that doesn’t actually care about whether drivers are impaired, but rather whether they have evidence of a particular drug in their bloodstream. Since marijuana tends to leave that evidence longer (up to weeks), this kind of law can have a devastating impact — drivers in an accident often end up in prison merely due to the metabolites in their blood.

This also means that people are convicted and sent to prison entirely based on the results of a drug test.

Well apparently there were some red flags about some of the results of drug tests from the state’s main Toxicology Lab, and so the Governor’s Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving undertook a “quiet” inquiry to re-examine some past test results.

The Indianapolis Star got wind of it and it became something the state couldn’t hide.

Now the first round of results have been completed.

Errors found in Ind. state drug-test lab

An Indiana state lab wrongly reported 1 in 10 marijuana cases as positive, including some that were deliberately manipulated, an audit report indicated. […]

The audit’s findings showed errors in about 200 of 2,000 marijuana tests reported to law enforcement as having positive results, the Star said. This includes about 50 results the report said were consciously manipulated by lab workers.

Numerous verdicts could be overturned and cases dismissed, Newman said, although it was not clear if every error led to a wrongful conviction.

The revelations are “shocking” and “inexcusable,” state Public Defender Council Executive Director Larry Landis told the newspaper.

“If they’re manipulating data, how can you rely on anything they do?” he said. “We’re talking about people’s lives.”

The audit, conducted by outside scientists, was originally going to cover every case with a positive lab result from 2007 to 2009 — more than 10,000 overall.

But the initial findings are so troubling Newman will probably extend the audit back to 2006, he told the Star.

The lab, established in the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1957, seeks to provide “science-based support for the impaired and dangerous driving program and other criminal justice efforts for the State of Indiana,” the lab’s Web site says.

Let the lawsuits begin.

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21 Responses to Even scientific labs show the systemic corruption of the drug war

  1. Ben Mann says:

    Law enforcement and all its supporting industries have become so disgustingly corrupt, so disdainful of the civil rights of American citizens, that even if we ended the entire drug war tomorrow, it would still take decades for our police forces to return to the superior moral standing and public trust they enjoyed in the 1950’s.

  2. kaptinemo says:

    Yes, let the lawsuits begin.

    Governments have green blood rather than red, but it also flows out in life-threatening amounts when you hit an ‘artery’ like this one. And this one was an aneurysm just waiting to happen, with results being ‘fudged’ by the lab techs.

    But what also has to happen is that the public needs to be made aware that it, too, is bleeding. Enough of that, and the call for reform will get even louder, and only the most intellectually impaired pol will ignore it.

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  4. Dante says:

    From the article:
    “If they’re manipulating data, how can you rely on anything they do?” he said. “We’re talking about people’s lives.”

    Just like “testi-lying” by the police. Just like hiding evidence of innocence (exculpatory?) by the prosecutor. Just like judges sending teenagers to jail for money. Just like the “Blue Wall of Silence”. Just like hundreds of other examples of how the criminal justice system is rigged to benefit the employees of the criminal justice system, and to hell with truth and justice.

    The criminal justice system in America is increasingly staffed by criminals, and therefore there is no justice.

    Who benefits from our current criminal justice system? And who controls it? And who prevents any changes to it? And who punishes those who speak out? The same group of people.

  5. darkcycle says:

    And the “oops….this looks bad, lets bury it.” response. Like Texas’ death penalty- expose the fact that the system puts innocent people to death, and they execute some more, just to prove that they can.

  6. vicky vampire says:

    I do not like litigious society,lots of frivolous lawsuits,but in this case it is wholly and legitimately justified.
    In last ten years it seems more and more labs have screwed up Hiv-tests and other scandals around country have made folks everywhere suspicious about lab results.

    Hey everybody did you hear about Congressmen Christopher Lee caught with shirt off. and trolling on Craigs list yeah,fortunately the Republicans eat there own.
    The way I see it, the seat may actually go to a Dem, Yeah one less Congressman who by most accounts Lee was Anti-Gay I’m guessing that he was also a Drug-Prohib guy.

    Good riddance I told family and friends that it would not be long before Republicans started doing stupid,keep this up and they will lose there majority.

    A funny aside someone on a post wanted to know if there are pics of Senator with his pants down too, OK who cares he’s gone My my aren’t we a voyeur society. HA HA.

  7. denmark says:

    This is marvelous. Will be interesting to see where it goes.

  8. malcolm kyle says:

    ..Were Clinton alive and politicking during Prohibition, would she have also dismissed the eventual solution to the Mob violence that terrorised Chicago in the 1920s? “Legalising alcohol is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it.”

    Fortunately, for Clinton, she can afford to live in places much nicer and safer than Camden or Ciudad Juárez. She can afford to ignore the consequences of what she’s endorsing…

    The addled piorities of US drugs policy

    Thanks Jennifer!

  9. ezrydn says:

    I wonder in they’re affiliated with the Oakland Crime Lab? Didn’t the OCL just go through this ringer also? Lots of “Get Out Of Jail FREE” cards came from that one!

  10. Cliff says:

    Gosh, if only those lab techs were drug tested every day, their observations would be beyond reproach and totally unbiased. (/snark)

    I hope State of Indiana gets a Tsunami of lawsuits, they certainly deserve it. Too bad it doesn’t come out of the pockets of those directly responsible for this travesty, that’s who should shoulder the burden.

  11. Rookie says:

    I have been a proponent for many years that we need to fight against urine testing, have it outlawed in a similar fashion to polygraph’s especially in the workplace, as it does not prove impairment, only historical use. To date I can find no organization that agrees or is willing to step up to the plate on this issue.

    I believe the first step in this fight against the drug war is to expose urine testing for the hoax that it truly is..

    Any one out there agree and or want to help?

    • DdC says:

      Let’s have a million person whiz quiz! Or rather have a million people send piss samples to Obomba! Or colored water if it’s illegal…

      Boycott Pisstasters!

      President Ronald Reagan, at the urging of then Vice President George Bush, appointed Carlton Turner as the White House Drug (czar) Advisor in 1981.

      Soon after Turner left office, Nancy Reagan recommended that no corporation be permitted to do business with the Federal government without having a urine purity policy in place to show their loyalty.

      Carlton Turner became a rich man in what has now become a huge growth industry: urine-testing. Jack

      I can’t think of a more degrading disgusting habit than these drug thugs have for tasting piss. King George taxed tea and they revoted, where are the Americans? Not the McBushit Neolibracons. Real freedom loving hard working stoners who do a good job everyday and fire one up after work instead of the legal lethal fermentations and distilled organ grinders Ganja, that these ego tripin’ thumb sucking DEAth Merchants wouldn’t even know we used, unless they steal your piss. How utterly nazi-ating.

      If you leave your fingerprints and DNA at a crime scene it makes sense that it can be used as evidence against you. But these perverts steal your piss, or blackmail you to submit. They force you to incriminate yourself and that seems to be a 5th Amendment issue. Not that the Fascist Supremests care about the Constitution or anything as naive as that.

      But technically with a righteous judge, maybe… In some far distant land of Liberty, Justice and Peace. Where We the People acknowledge the rights we own as a birthright, not something some politicop bastardizer decides on a whim to get elected. Not acting American is why we have a Ganjawar.

      At DEA, our mission is to fight drug trafficking
      in order to make drug abuse the most expensive, unpleasant, risky,
      and disreputable form of recreation a person could have.

      — Donnie Marshall,
      Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

      Random School Drug Testing UnconstitutionalBy Rachel La Corte
      CN Source: Associated Press March 13, 2008 Washington

      The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that random drug testing of student athletes is unconstitutional, finding that each has “a genuine and fundamental privacy interest in controlling his or her own bodily functions.”

      Zero Tolerance DUID Laws Don’t Deter ‘Drugged Driving Study Says
      March 13, 2008 – Linkoping, Sweden

      Just Say No To Drug Tests

      Setting Drug Impairment Levels Far Off

  12. davidtvz says:

    Off Topic, but does anyone know of any critique of this NIDA research?


    • Duncan20903 says:

      94 joints a week?!? Were these Calvina Fay style joints? Holy nellie I think I’ve been a light weight all these years without realizing it? ninety freaking four?

      Anyway davidtvz the best place to look to see if nonsense like that holds any water is to see how they’ve defined the word impaired. The drug warriors are very much students of the Humpty Dumpty school of sophistry. I recall one “definitive” study that cannabis caused “impaired” driving and by “impaired” it meant the driver had a minimal tracking error when trying to hold a lane. I think if they could have said weaving they would have.

      Words whatever the heck they say that they mean. That is how they got to start claiming that cannabis is “addictive”, they redefined the word and voila!

  13. DdC says:

    NIDA research is an oxymoron…

    “…I.Q.’s of Zion Coptics increased after they began to use Ganja”
    Schaeffer: A Neuropsychological Evaluation; A Case History

    Scientists are High on Idea that Marijuana Reduces Memory Impairment
    CN Source: Newswise November 19, 2008

    The more research they do, the more evidence Ohio State University scientists find that specific elements of marijuana can be good for the aging brain by reducing inflammation there and possibly even stimulating the formation of new brain cells.

    The research suggests that the development of a legal drug that contains certain properties similar to those in marijuana might help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Though the exact cause of Alzheimer’s remains unknown, chronic inflammation in the brain is believed to contribute to memory impairment.

    “Not only are we here to protect the public from vicious criminals
    in the street but also to protect the public from harmful ideas.”

    — Robert Ingersoll – Former DEA Director (1972)

    The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is a network of scholars elaborating the law, policy and ethics of freedom of thought. Our mission is to develop public polices that will preserve and enhance freedom of thought into the 21st Century.

    Life Sentences:
    The Collateral Sanctions Associated with Marijuana Offenses

    Our latest study examines the true impact of a marijuana conviction. A misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana can trigger automatic bars on educational aid, a bar on serving as a foster parent, denial of federal housing assistance, revocation or suspension of occupational licenses, suspension of one’s driver’s license, and much more.
    Read the Report

    “Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong.”
    — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

  14. C says:

    Glad I never had a piss test lol.This is stupid though.Just goes to show they don’t give a shit about the people they just want your time & money like usual.
    Marijuana is becoming more and more increasingly popular for medicinal use. Medical marijuana has even been called by some researchers as the “21st Centuries miracle drug.” There are many reasons why people may prefer using marijuana instead of prescription drugs for epileptic seizures including cost, side effects, and better results.

    Medical marijuana has been proven time and time again that it is very beneficial for medical use, especially to those who suffer from epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition in which cells of the brain function improperly causing an excitement of the cells and then a seizure. When one has epilepsy, the seizure can occur spontaneously at any given time. The ability to drive or even work may be affected.

    Lookup marijuana,cb1,cb2 cannabinoids

  15. vicky vampire says:

    Yes good link Ddc to Ohio State University story about memory and Cannabis. Both my parents developed Dementia in their late sixties. I noticed more and more folks getting it.
    I have had some memory problems all my life,that’s why I take a lot of memory enhancing nutrients.

    I have no idea if in long run its worth it,but it’s worth a shot,so I use Pot not just for pain but for memory and also turmeric is very powerful also.
    I have noticed some noticeable improvements in memory.
    Plenty more research needs to be done with Marijuana in this area and all the areas it seems to help with.

  16. Stupid is as stupid does says:

    I used to live in Indiana and wont move back. (not that hwere I am is any better). I dont much care for their attitudes there. This just goes to show profitteers and moral zealots are everywhere prohibtion is.

    Yes indeed, let the lawsuits begin.

  17. claygooding says:

    Erzydn.the one in Oakland had a lab tech that was stealing cocaine from the evidence locker,,,,surprises me that there was that much actually making it too the lab.

    If memory serves,they estimated she had stolen several kilos in the last 6 months,,,,so much that some cases had to be dismissed because of missing evidence.

    I would imagine that between what the arresting officers and the evidence room operator,plus every officer that transported it to and from the labs took,a man arrested with an ounce of cocaine would only have a gram at the trial

  18. tensity1 says:

    Anyone thought about starting petitions at Change.org or another petition site to put pressure and publicity on the state of Indiana to address this issue? Same for the previous post about the kid in Colorado who couldn’t go back to school after taking his MMJ lozenges. Could be one way to to bring awareness to the greater public about the stupidity and corruption the Drug War creates.

  19. malcolm kyle says:

    “I would imagine that between what the arresting officers and the evidence room operator, plus every officer that transported it to and from the labs took, a man arrested with an ounce of cocaine would only have a gram at the trial”

    Clay, I rather think that may be a generous underestimation; more likely, the only thing to make it to the lab would be a gram of mannitol, half of which to be immediately snorted by the post room clerk.

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