January 4, 2021 4:58PM

Drug Lab Misconduct

By Jeffrey Miron and Erin Partin

In 2013, authorities arrested a chemist at a Massachusetts state drug lab for stealing drug samples, falsifying test results, and tampering with evidence. After a multi‐​year investigation, more than 35,000 drug convictions were dismissed and the state was forced to spend over $30 million in restitution and investigation costs.

Now, state officials believe another employee may have similarly tainted evidence.

Massachusetts is not the only state where misconduct by drug lab employees has occurred. Both Montana and California have documented cases of similar behavior. This misconduct has a direct impact on thousands of drug cases, not to mention the financial backlash to the state.

Yet this is a problem that doesn’t need to exist. Ending drug prohibition would eliminate the need for such labs, making it impossible for such misconduct and the associated costs to arise.