Drug Tests

Drug tests are administered in a variety of everyday contexts — especially in the job market. Here we discuss the subject as it applies to the criminal justice system. Probably the most common use of drug testing is for people who have been placed on probation. Often people are required to submit to drug tests even if the crime they were convicted for had nothing to do with drugs.

Example: Jonah was convicted of burglary. A probation report disclosed that Jonah had a history of cocaine use. The court sentenced Jonah to jail for a brief period, to be followed by a three-year period of probation. One of the conditions of probation was that Jonah submit to periodic and random drug testing.

Even assuming a good reason for testing people on probation, the tests must be reliable for testing to make sense. While the reliability of the standard urine drug test is aggressively asserted by the companies that make money off the testing, the tests, as administered, are not scientifically assessed for reliability.

The legal community has a term for procedures that pretend to be science but can’t stand up to scientific scrutiny: junk science. Some now claim that drug testing is a perfect example of it.

One such soul is Dr. Kent Holtorf, who gives plenty of ammunition for his views in a book with the quirky title, Ur-ine Trouble, published by Vandalay Press and now in its second edition. Holtorf begins by pointing out the myriad ways in which drug testing laboratories can and do make mistakes. Holtorf also deals with an even more troubling aspect of drug testing: the false positive. A false positive occurs when a test erroneously indicates the presence of an illegal substance. For instance, a test can come out positive for marijuana as the result of ingesting ibuprofin, found in Advil and Motrin. A number of over-the-counter medications may produce a positive test result for amphetamines.

Holtorf claims that more false positives than accurate tests are reported by drug testing laboratories. He devotes an entire chapter to the various substances that have been shown to cause false positives for various substances.

Holtorf also points out that secondhand smoke from marijuana and crack cocaine is taken up in a person’s hair, which produces a positive test result when hair is sampled for drugs. The more melanin in a person’s hair, claims Holtorf, the greater the concentration of the illegal substance. And since African-Americans tend to have higher concentrations of melanin in their hair, the chances are also great that they are at much greater risk than whites of testing positive when their hair is tested — even if the substance got there through secondhand smoke.

Client Reviews
"Mr. Steinberg provided my family with expert handling of my son's case. He took extra time understand the case, to consult with us during the pretrial proceedings, and to support him for a plea agreement. Mr. Steinberg is very knowledge about the law and very professional. He guided us in achieving the best possible outcome for my son. If I am ever in need of law services again, I will certainly have Mr. Steinberg handle my case. l also highly recommend his services to anyone that might be in need of an excellent defense attorney!" Tanya Witt
"I found myself in criminal trouble, that I wasn't guilty of and thanks to Mr. Steinberg's dedication and hard work, right before we we're looking at having to continue on to trial level Mr. Steinberg was able to use his vast knowledge of the law and his many respected years in the system to find a way to show my innocence. After a very unsure and somewhat difficult time for me, this very skilled and knowledgeable attorney was able to find the right path to take to reach a dismissal in my case. For that I can't tell you how much I appreciate his representation and his excellent understanding and helpful personality. He's a great man and an even better attorney but don't misunderstand him, he is an attorney not a therapist. Thanks H." Josh
"Working with Michael Steinberg was a wonderful experience. Truly people need to know that he is a expert in what he does. His personality is compassionate, intellectual, and down to earth. I glean that Michael is fun to be around. In the time I worked with him, it was a pleasure to be around him. As for my case, the outcome was amazing and couldn’t be better. He has made my life more manageable because of the outcome of my case. I’ve worked with other lawyers in the Denver area. He is superior to them all. If you’re in need of a lawyer and you come across Mr. Steinberg look no further he’s going to be the one you need. Thank you again Michael." Renee Taylor
Mr. Steinberg, It has been an honor working with you. I very much appreciated your style, demeanor, patience, and determination. I was well instructed in every step of the court process, and I felt that I received excellent guidance and timely information regarding my case. You have been extremely thoughtful with your time, and I was very impressed with your sensitivity in responding to my requests. Thank you. Anonymous