Diagnosis gone awry: A flawed drug test could be sending thousands of innocent people to jail each year

HM Epstein hmepstein at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 12 19:53:54 UTC 2016

Thanks for sharing that, Mark. 

This is a hot button for me, since before I focused on diagnostic error, I wrote about the issues and risks families face when children are accused of breaking alcohol consumption laws. 

These often faulty field tests go hand in glove with the tests done on potentially impaired drivers which don't test for current intoxication but test instead for signs of drug use that could be as old as two weeks or more. The statistics around alcohol and drug use and driving are often based on outmoded and coerced urine and blood tests. 

Once in the system, the arrested person rarely has access to knowledgeable counsel, just like the woman in the article. Pro-publica also did an exhaustive investigative review of how often people are arrested and falsely accused who then lose their automobiles - even if they are found not guilty - which are sold by the arresting police precinct or its municipality. Those proceeds go for new gear for the precinct or for overtime pay so the police officers can then stop more drivers and accuse them of driving under the influence. There's a lot more but it is off topic for this thread.


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On Jul 12, 2016, at 2:09 PM, Mark Graber <graber.mark at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

This is a disturbing article in this week’s NY Times magazine on the roadside tests police use to detect narcotics.  People are being jailed for narcotics possession based on tests that have high, and unknown, rates of false positive results. 


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