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Drug Testing of Police - What Every Police Officer Should Know

NCJ Number
Law and Order Dated: (August 1986) Pages: 44-48
C Goodroe
Date Published
5 pages
Because the use of employee drug testing by police agencies is increasing, this article reviews the nature and reliability of various drug tests, procedures for handling test samples, cross reactivity among licit drugs, and testing policies.
Initial drug screening devices usually involve immunoassay techniques. Confirmation tests are usually more sophisticated and selective than initial tests and produce more precise results. Commonly used confirmation methods include gas chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and high performance liquid chromatography. Laboratory tests can be made with samples of urine, saliva, blood, or hair. Urine samples provide a large sample size without too much inconvenience to test subjects. Urine tests cannot measure the level of intoxication or impairment and can only detect drugs used in a matter of weeks before the testing. The testing agency must establish a precise procedure for handling all test samples to ensure the integrity of test results. Laboratory quality assurance procedures and test results. Laboratory quality assurance procedures and parameters for reliable testing are important in achieving accurate results. A test may mistake the presence of licit drugs for illicit drugs if appropriate confirmation work is not performed. Testing policies recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are presented.