The Side Effects of False-Positive Drug Testing Results

The editorial "Drug Testing and Public Safety," Dec. 31, points out that drug tests must be accurate and fair. A urinalysis is neither. I am aware of an incident where a job applicant unknowingly ate food containing poppy seeds prior to this test. The individual tested positive for morphine. The applicant was then in the position of proving her innocence and possibly not getting the job she applied for. It was a difficult and time-consuming task to clear the erroneous record indicating drug usage. With c ongressional help, it took months; without it, clearing the record might have been impossible.

Since drug screening has become a necessity, those responsible for developing and administering the tests should either use precise testing methods or warn applicants beforehand of potential causes of false-positive test results. Gail Jokerst, W. Glacier, Mont.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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