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State Lab In Trouble Once Again
Posted by A. Shapiro
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An internal affairs investigation has uncovered a drug testing discrepancy at the troubled State Police lab, Public Safety Secretary Joe Martin said today. State Police Superintendent Howard Hill said he has put two lab workers on leave in connection with the incident. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI have been asked to review the case to determine whether criminal charges are in order. Martin and Hill announced the situation today at the Capitol. Martin said he believed the discrepancy was an isolated incident. “Neither ( Hill ) nor I intend to permit such mistakes or unprofessional work to take place in our drug laboratory now or in the future,” he said. The State Police lab’s reputation has been tarnished… Read More
Attorney: Prisoner May Be Victim Of Faulty Drug Test
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Redding defense attorney Jeffrey Stotter said he has at least one client who might be sitting in prison after an inaccurate drug test. Patricia Griffith, is serving 10 years in prison for a vehicular manslaughter conviction that involved the use of alcohol—and a blood sample drawn by lab owner George Goehring. Griffith and other defendants had a right to know the man who drew blood samples for suspected drunken drivers and drug users was the focus of a four-year investigation, Stotter said. He said Shasta County District Attorney McGregor Scott should have shared that information with defense attorneys. “A jury gets to decide whether there’s anything to it. The district attorney doesn’t,” Stotter said. The state attorney general’s office has… Read More
School Drug Testing Headed For Supreme Court Again
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The US Supreme Court agreed this week to hear a case that will allow it to refine its rules on what constitutes acceptable drug testing of high school students. In an Oregon case in 1995, the Supreme Court held that student athletes could be tested because drug use was found to be prevalent at the school in question. But since then, school districts around the country have attempted to expand student drug testing to include students involved in other extracurricular activities, students who drive cars to school, and, in some cases, random, suspicionless tests of all students. By agreeing to hear the Oklahoma case, the Supreme Court has signaled that it is ready to revisit its 1995 ruling on drug… Read More
Mothers Win Ruling In Drug Test Case
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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the medical privacy of pregnant women Wednesday, ruling that hospital officials and police may not conspire to secretly test patients for drugs. In a 6-3 ruling, the court said the Constitution’s protection for privacy outweighs the government’s need to detect drug use, even when a fetus could be exposed. The decision rejects a unique and controversial drug testing program begun in Charleston, S.C., in 1988, when fears of a “crack baby” epidemic reached their peak. Nationwide, nurses and doctors urged women who were using cocaine to stop and sent addicted patients to treatment programs. In South Carolina, officials decided to go further and prosecute mothers for child abuse if they were found to be using… Read More
We Cannot Allow You To Breastfeed
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Recently, I helped a mom give birth to her third baby. Carrie’s first, a daughter, lived with her and her boyfriend. Her second had been the result of rape, and was born precipitously, a vaginal breech in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. That baby was adopted by a family member. Now she was engaged to be married and happy about this forthcoming arrival. Carrie had begun her prenatal care rather late in pregnancy, over half way through, but she had then come frequently thereafter, for a total of twelve visits. Significant prenatal issues included smoking one-half pack of cigarettes a day, mild asthma, being Rh negative, and having bacterial vaginosis that was treated. As per our protocol,… Read More
Unresonable Search
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Here are the bare bones of a case the Supreme Court heard last week: A decade ago, some pregnant women who went to a South Carolina public hospital for prenatal care were given urine tests and arrested if the results turned up positive for cocaine. Doesn’t that flagrantly violate the patients’ Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches of their “persons, houses, papers, and effects”? It certainly does in our book. But in the lawbooks, the Supreme Court has said no warrant or probable cause is necessary for a search that meets some special need apart from enforcing the criminal laws. And in this case, lower courts bought the Charleston hospital’s argument that it was protecting the health of fetuses, if… Read More
Jailing Pregnant Women Violates Privacy Rights
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Imagine going to your doctor for routine medical treatment and supplying a urine sample. The doctor exits the examination room, goes down the hall and, without your knowledge or consent, tests your urine for illicit drugs. As you wait in your patient’s gown, the police enter the room, handcuff and shackle you, and take you off to prison on charges of drug possession. Is it legal for you to be tested without your consent? Is it legal for your doctor to call the police if you test positive? Is it legal for you to incriminate yourself with your own blood or urine? These are the questions involved in the Ferguson v. City of Charleston (S.C.) case argued last week before… Read More
True Test For Ecstacy
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Ecstasy users who happen to be in the job market have new reason to beware. A new hair drug test being used by many companies in preemployment screenings can detect the popular party drug. It also detects marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and PCP in hair samples up to 90 days after usage, according to Psychemedics Corp., which is marketing the test. Psychemedics officials say the company has 1,700 corporate clients, including many in the Fortune 500. In addition, the company does drug testing for four of the country’s largest police departments and five Federal Reserve banks. In August company officials announced they had seen a surprisingly high level of positive tests for ecstasy in the first five weeks of screening. The… Read More
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Workers Fight Hair Drug Test
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Anheuser-Busch brewery workers are fighting a drug test imposed recently that is designed to detect drug use up to three months prior. The new test relies on a lock of hair, rather than a urine sample, which has led Teamsters Local 102 to file a civil rights lawsuit and one worker to shave all of his body hair. Testers used a fingernail clipping for his test instead the union said. The union, representing 500 brewers, machinists and clerks at the Newark brewery, says the test is unreliable and violates privacy rights. “We are not going to accept this lying down,” Jack Riley, Local 102 secretary-treasurer and chief executive officer, told The Star-Ledger of Newark. So far, his local is the… Read More
New York Lawmaker Proposes Drug Testing For Pro Wrestlers
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A New York lawmaker is recommending mandatory drug testing for professional wrestlers competing in his state, saying it’s not a jab at the simulated violence but a way to protect children trying to emulate their heroes. “Almost all other major professional sports have adopted similar requirements for legal participation,” said Republican Sen. Thomas Libous. Drug testing as part of the state’s licensing requirements would show fans the wrestlers are drug-free, plus it would improve the level of competition and protect the wrestlers’ health, he said. World Wrestling Federation officials say it’s a plan that hits below the belt. “We are performers, we are showmen, he’d be drug testing everyone on Broadway. He’d be drug testing the circus,” said WWF Entertainment… Read More
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