Mass. health commissioner resigns, cites drug lab


Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach resigned Monday in the wake of a growing investigation into a chemist whose alleged mishandling of drug samples led police to shut down the state crime lab.

Auerbach said what happened at the lab was unacceptable and the buck stopped at his office.

Gov. Deval Patrick accepted the resignation.

The Hinton State Laboratory Institute was overseen by the Department of Public Health before being transferred to state police as part of a budgetary realignment.

Auerbach’s decision comes as prosecutors are beginning the process of figuring out how to deal with tens of thousands of drug cases handled by the chemist.

State police closed the lab late last month after discovering that the chemist had failed to follow testing protocols and may have purposely mishandled key evidence.

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