The ACLU of Massachusetts features in a new Netflix show about a major law enforcement debacle in the Commonwealth. “How to Fix a Drug Scandal” is a four-part docuseries that premiered on April 1, chronicling the crimes of two drug lab chemists and subsequent cover-up by the state government.
For nearly nine years, former state drug lab chemist Sonja Farak used drugs that she stole from or manufactured in a Massachusetts drug lab, causing thousands of people to be wrongfully convicted of drug crimes based on unreliable evidence. Worse, government attorneys suppressed evidence and covered up the scandal.
After years of ACLU of Massachusetts litigation, thousands of cases tainted by Farak have been dismissed. Clients like Herschelle Reaves and Nicole Wescott—plaintiffs in the ACLU’s lawsuit—were finally able to clear their names and carry on with their lives.
This case followed another ACLU victory—also covered in the docuseries—when scores of wrongful drug convictions that had been tainted by former state chemist Annie Dookhan were wiped away. That was the single largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in the nation’s history.
Together, the two-drug lab cases brought by the ACLU have now resulted in over 61,000 dismissed Farak- and Dookhan-related drug charges across more than 37,000 cases.
View a full timeline of the drug lab cases here.