Annie Dookhan’s alleged mistakes as a chemist have received much attention since she was indicted on charges related to the Hinton Drug Lab scandal this past summer. But a science magazine attempts to unpack what she did – and did wrong – from a purely scientific point of view.
A Monday article titled, “FYI: What Do Forensic Chemists Do, And Why Would They Cheat?” on PopSci.com, the website affiliate of Popular Science Magazine, shines a light on the job of a forensic chemist.
The article claims that while on TV, the state chemist’s job looks easy, even glamorous, but behind the microscope in real life, that chemist’s test means everything in court.
“…In a court of law, some drug convictions result in harsher sentences than others,” the article says.
Dookhan mishandled almost 60,000 samples, the article alleges, thus resulting in the questionable outcomes of 34,000 drug cases in Massachusetts. She worked at a fever pitch, and few understand why.
Popular Science says it could take up to 15 years to move up in the forensic chemistry industry. Dookhan’s motivation could have been professional, the story alleges.
"You have to be there for 15 years before you get a bag of cocaine from Paris Hilton," James Woodford, expert chemist, told Popular Science in the story.