Department of Transportation Calls for Drug Testing Lab Investigation 10/13/00

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(courtesy NORML News, http://www.norml.org)

Washington, DC: The US Department of Health and Human Services is launching an investigation of all 65 federally certified drug testing labs after a case involving an airline pilot raised doubts about a Lenexa, KS lab's validation process.

LabOne's questionable validation of urine samples arose during an administrative hearing before the National Transportation Safety Board for Delta Airlines pilot Doukas Siotkas. Siotkas was fighting to keep his pilot's license after a July 1999 drug test showed a creatinine level of zero. Creatinine levels are measured to verify that a urine sample has not been tampered with and readings of less than 5 milligrams per deciliter is deemed to be substitution of a sample. Creatinine levels are typically low for vegetarians, petite women and people who drink large quantities of water. No further testing was done on the sample and Siotkas was fired.

During the safety board's hearing, the Airline Pilots Association challenged the legitimacy of drug test validation and stated that LabOne only provided whole numbers, rather than to a decimal point, which is against federal guidelines. The Federal Aviation Administration allowed Siotkas to keep his license and he was rehired by Delta.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) urged the Health and Human Services department to check the validating protocols for all 65 labs. A DOT spokesman said the agency "is concerned other labs may have conducted similar tests without completely implementing all test procedures."

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Issue #155, 10/13/00 Interview with Governor Gary Johnson | US Demands Bolivian Government Be Inflexible in Coca Negotiations | November Coalition Comes to Washington to Accept Human Rights Award | Follow That Story -- "There Are Other Tulias in Texas" -- WOL Speaks with the Amarillo NAACP | Silence of the Wolves: Drug Policy in the Bush and Gore Campaigns | New Study Shows California Leads Nation in Drug Offender Imprisonment | Department of Transportation Calls for Drug Testing Lab Investigation | Media Scan: Salon.com, PBS Frontline | The Reformer's Calendar
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