My folder dedicated to false positives and misconduct from the military’s urinalysis drug laboratories just got a few pages thicker. As noted in this memorandum to the Navy’s Criminal Law Division (Code 20), Navy Drug Screen Laboratory (NDSL) Great Lakes has identified at least three false positives for methamphetamine and amphetamines. To my knowledge, NDSL Great Lakes last reported a false positive in 2008.
The scariest part of this release is that the drug lab recognizes that it has been making errors since February 2006! The fallout from this is hard to calculate – the drug lab discards negative urine samples but keeps positive samples for 1 year unless it receives a preservation request to hold for a longer period of time. For those members whose samples have been discarded, retesting is impossible. I imagine that there are dozens of service members who have been separated since 2006 based on false test results.
More egregious, for the last decade, “experts” from NDSL Great Lakes have entered courtrooms and administrative separation boards and testified that the lab’s testing methods are scientifically reliable and produce certain results. They have stated, under oath, that there are safeguards to prevent false positives. All the while the lab was reporting false results, destroying the careers of military members who were falsely labeled drug abusers.
For those active duty and reserve members facing separation for a positive urinalysis result, it is imperative that you have a trained and experienced lawyer to represent you at your administrative separation hearing – to challenge the drug lab, it’s “flawless” testing procedures, and the common perception that urinalysis results are 100% accurate.
Attorney Patrick Korody is a former Navy JAG who was certified as a Specialist in Military Justice by the Judge Advocate General. He represents members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard – active and reserves – worldwide – at courts-martial and administrative separation boards based on drug abuse/positive drug test results/positive urinalysis. He offers a free consultation. His office can be reached at 904.383.7261.