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Drug Testing

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  1. Drug Testing Lecture 13

  2. What to Expect in this Lecture • What is drug testing? • History of drug desting • Methods of drug testing • Effectiveness of drug testing • Controversies surrounding drug testing

  3. What is Drug Testing? Drug testing generically refers to the analysis of bodily tissues or fluids to determine the presence and/or concentration of a particular substance • Drug Testing vs. Drug Screening • Drug Screening is the qualitative analysis of body tissue or fluid to broadly determine the presence of particular substances • Drug Testingin the most precise sense refers to quantitative analysis of bodily tissues or fluids to determine concentrations of particular substances

  4. History of Drug Testing • First drug testing was for alcohol during prohibition • Another early use of drug testing was in sports • First used to detect if horses were being given morphine thought to be a performance enhancer • Human athletes were being tested by the 1960’s • The military began testing during the Vietnam war. However systematic testing did not begin until the 1980’s • Private industry began drug testing of employees in the 1980’s • Practice became widespread following Executive Order #12564, by President Reagan, establishing Drug Free Work Place

  5. Methods of Drug Testing • Breath tests • Used exclusively for alcohol • Least invasive • Blood, urine, saliva test • Testing of these 3 body fluids involves same basic technology • Problems identified with all 3 • Hair analysis • Can preserve record of drug use for an indefinite period of time • Also because of the way hair grows, can determine approximately when drugs were taken (within about a month) • More precise determination, however, is not possible

  6. Effectiveness of Drug Testing • Difficult to evaluate effectiveness because of multiplicity of goals of drug testing: • Identification of drug users in an organization • Deterrence of drug use • Improvement of worker morale • Increased productivity • Decreased workplace accidents • Overall cost-effectiveness

  7. Controversies Surrounding Drug Testing • Reliability of Drug Testing • Great potential for false positives, particularly on EMIT • Most drug tests do not measure current level of drug use/impairment • Constitutionality of Drug Testing • Violation of Fourth Amendment protections? • Violation of Fifth Amendment protections? • Violation of Fourteenth Amendment protections?