“False Positive” Drug Tests Lead to Wrongful Convictions

A comprehensive study has been conducted to scrutinize the effectiveness of field drug testing in the United States. According to the report, out of the more than 1.5 million drug arrests conducted annually in the US, approximately 773,000 involve the use of color-based presumptive tests. Despite their widespread use, these tests suffer from known accuracy issues, including false positives that wrongly indicate the presence of illegal drugs. The true error rate of these tests remains elusive, but available data suggests that roughly 30,000 individuals are falsely implicated and arrested each year due to false positives.

“Presumptive field drug test kits are known to produce ‘false positive’ errors and were never designed or intended to provide conclusive evidence of the presence of drugs.”

Originally conceived as preliminary testing methods due to their unreliability and unknown false-positive rates, the widespread adoption of these tests has had detrimental effects on the entire criminal justice process.

A real-world example of the consequences of flawed field drug testing is the case of Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts. In the summer of 2019, Werts faced cocaine charges after a deputy, relying on an error-prone field drug test, mistook bird poop on the hood of his car for drugs. Despite Werts’ repeated protestations of innocence, he was charged, jailed, and subsequently suspended from the team. However, official lab results later cleared him of all drug charges, confirming the substance was indeed bird poop and not cocaine. This incident starkly underscores the dangers of relying on unreliable field drug tests.

Read the full report here. 

The repercussions of a wrongful conviction for drug consumption can be profound and far-reaching, affecting various aspects of an individual’s life.

It is crucial to emphasize the importance of reliable drug testing methods to maintain drug-free workplaces and uphold public safety. However, it is equally imperative to ensure that drug tests are performed accurately and reliably to prevent wrongful accusations and convictions.

At Clarityscreening, we prioritize accuracy and reliability in drug testing procedures. Our commitment to employing trustworthy testing methods helps ensure fairness and integrity in the workplace and promotes a safer environment for all. Contact us to learn more about our services.