New England News
12:00 am
Thu November 29, 2012

195 Released from Prison as Result of Mass. Drug Lab Scandal

Nearly 200 people have been released from prison and their cases put on hold as a result of a Massachusetts state drug testing lab scandal. 

Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan told lawmakers at a public hearing Wednesday that while investigators are looking at about 34,000 cases overall, 195 individuals have been released, 79 in Boston.

Heffernan said their release doesn't mean they have been exonerated.

Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby said the lack of national accreditation at the lab was one factor that contributed to its troubles.

Bigby said the fact that chemist Annie Dookhan, accused of faking lab tests, performed so many more tests than other lab workers should have been a red flag.

Heffernan said $3.4 million is needed to close a state backlog of 10,300 cases that need drug testing.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.