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State laboratory to suspend blood-alcohol and blood-drug testing

In a press release issued today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has announced that it will suspend itself from blood-alcohol and blood-drug testing due to systemic failures and staff incompetence.

DENVER – Effective July 3, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will suspend blood-alcohol and blood-drug testing performed at its toxicology laboratory until further notice.

During this suspension, the state toxicology lab will complete the work on samples currently in the testing process. Unprocessed specimens will be sent to an independent lab after consultation with the agency that submitted the sample. New specimens that come to the state toxicology lab during the suspension will be rerouted to another lab for processing.

Department Executive Director Dr. Chris Urbina said, “We will have an independent laboratory retest approximately 800 blood-alcohol samples to verify the state toxicology lab’s blood-alcohol test results. We take seriously the concerns from law enforcement, public defenders and the public – and this is the best way for us to verify the accuracy of testing at the toxicology lab.”

An independent lab, AIT labs, will conduct the retesting. The 800 samples will be randomly selected to ensure a representative sample, and will be selected from test results completed during the last 12 months. Results of the tests will be made public.

During the suspension, the department will continue to implement improvements at the toxicology laboratory. The first step will be a complete audit by the Association of Public Health Laboratories of the state toxicology laboratory’s procedures. The audit team will comprise laboratory experts from other state toxicology laboratories. Results of the audit will be made public.

Lab staff members will continue their training on updated standard operating procedures and industry best practices. In addition, the toxicology lab’s testing equipment will be inspected (and recalibrated) to make sure the equipment meets board of health certification standards.

Only the blood-alcohol and blood drug testing is being suspended. All other services provided by the state lab will continue. Those services include:

  • screening for newborn illnesses
  • breath alcohol testing for law enforcement
  • bioterrorism surveillance
  • zoonotic disease testing (plague, rabies, West Nile Virus, hantavirus, avian flu)
  • human disease testing (foodborne illnesses, TB, STDs, vaccine-preventable diseases)
  • radiochemical and radiation testing
  • water and air testing
  • milk testing

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Rhidian Orr

Rhidian Orr

The Orr Law Firm, L.L.C. is Colorado’s premier DUI defense law firm. The Orr Law Firm focuses exclusively on DUI and criminal traffic defense. Denver DUI attorney Rhidian Orr, senior partner and owner of The Orr Law Firm, believes that DUI defense is so complex that a firm must focus exclusively on this area of law in order to provide clients with the expertise and knowledgeable defense they deserve. Attorneys at The Orr Law Firm go through extensive training and certifications to ensure they are up-to-date on all cutting edge defense strategies and evidentiary principles as they relate to DUI defense. Attorneys at The Orr Law Firm are active members of the National College for DUI Defense, are trained in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Gas Chromatography and are also trained in the operation of the Intoxilyzer 5000EN. DUI defense is our passion and we promise to provide all clients with exceptional customer service and the best possible legal defense as it relates to each individual case. Almost half of all of our clients are either return clients or referrals. This speaks volumes to the success of our firm and the satisfaction of our clients. The majority of criminal defense attorneys claim to "handle" DUI cases, but you need a Colorado DUI defense attorney, not just a general criminal defense attorney. Don’t let a DUI ruin your life. We will aggressively fight for your rights while respecting your privacy and time.

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