Summary of Supervision of Testing for Illegal and Legal Drugs in Two Hospital Laboratories and Four Institutions for the Treatment of Drug Users
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 12/2004
The report contains a summary of six supervision reports, from supervision of two hospital laboratories and four institutions for the treatment of drug users. Supervision was carried out during the summer of 2004. Supervision was initiated on the basis of the following background. For several years, the annual controls carried out by the National Institute of Forensic Toxicology (now the Norwegian Institute of Public Health) have identified that the quality of testing for illegal and legal drugs in many laboratories is not in accordance with the quality requirements of the central health authorities. There was therefore doubt about whether the people who are required to provide material for tests have adequate legal safeguards.
The Norwegian Board of Health found no evidence that either testing for illegal and legal drugs or use of test results takes place in a way that is not in accordance with sound professional standards. However, areas were identified where there is room for improvement. The Norwegian Board of Health found that one institution used the results of on-site devices for urine drug testing, without adequately taking account of the significant uncertainty associated with the results of such tests. At one laboratory, we found that comments, for example about test results, can lead to uncertainty about whether the results of the analysis can form the basis for serious sanctions against the person concerned.
In the report, the Norwegian Board of Health recommends that experience from supervision should be used to bring about an improvement in quality control and to determine which tests should be used for different purposes.