Revelations of egregious misconduct at a Jamaica Plain crime lab — affecting tens of thousands of drug samples that were used to put people behind bars — mark one of the biggest criminal justice scandals in the Commonwealth’s history. It should also mark the beginning of the end of our state’s drug war.
It is now well known that the drug war has failed, and with the Jamaica Plain crime lab it has failed spectacularly. According to news reports, chemist Annie Dookhan bypassed protocols and affirmatively tampered with drug samples, resulting in some 34,000 cases that now rest on tainted evidence. The scandal already has cost the jobs of several public officials, including Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach.