Local Lab Is Ready for Random Drug Testing

Carl Linden
Carl Linden

IWILEI (KHNL) -- Drug testing is an issue that's discussed a lot these days. In fact Hawaii's public school teachers face random testing in a little less than a year from now.

One of Hawaii's biggest toxicology labs processes as many as 600 samples every day. Once the state department of education rolls out its random drug testing program for teachers, it could get a lot busier.

"So certainly with a large institution doing a random program, the assumption would be that you would have those tests spread out throughout the year," said Carl Linden, a toxicology scientific director with Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. "So, that's something we're able to handle -- that expansion and contraction of volume relatively easily."

Toxicology -- or drug testing -- is taken seriously. Detailed checks and balances in the form of sealed bags and unique ID numbers follow the vials every step of the way.

The screening process can check for an entire drug class or by specific drugs. A high-tech machine compares a controlled dose of pure marijuana with a patient's sample.

And if a sample comes back positive, it goes through separate, independent testing.

"You have to have systems that can catch any kind of mistake that may appear," said Linden. "So, before the final result goes out, you have to have a virtually 100 percent confidence in your result."

Diagnostic Laboratory Services has been in the business for about half a century.

"We've been at it for a long time, had a lot of experience in court," said Linden. "So we've never lost a legal challenge."

A bit of reassurance as Hawaii's public school teachers get ready to submit samples of their own.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association is working with the department of education on the logistics for the random drug testing program.