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The University of Utah's Center for Human Toxicology, which performed drug tests in the deaths of Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson, is one of 20 laboratories nationwide certified to perform testing for the federal Drug-Free Workplace Programs.

A division of the College of Pharmacy, the Center for Human Toxicology has been conducting drug research and testing programs since 1973.In addition to performing the drug tests on the two singers, the center performed the tests in the Amtrak Conrail accident in Maryland where two trains crashed head on, causing 16 fatalities.

"We do all the post-accident toxicology testing for the Federal Railroad Administration and most of the same type of testing for the National Transportation Board," said Dr. Douglas E. Rollins, center director. "Primarily we perform drug tests on urine, blood and tissue samples. We also train medical and pharmacy students in clinical and analytical toxicology."

Federal law now provides for drug testing of certain government employees, under the supervision of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"The guidelines for federal workplace drug testing set strict standards which the testing laboratories must meet in order to conduct drug testing for federal agencies," Rollins said.

"To become certified, a laboratory must undergo three rounds of performance testing plus an on-site inspection. To keep the certification, a laboratory must participate in every-other-month performance testing and periodic inspections."

The U. center is one of only 20 laboratories in the country that have been certified.