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Drug Testing

  • By: Lauren A. O'Brien & Paul M. Roman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Every year in the United States, a significant number of individuals undergo both voluntary and nonvoluntary drug testing. Drug testing within the United States has had a short history beginning in the 19th century with development of observational drug screening methods. Contemporary drug tests have advanced from early observational techniques to biochemical tests that use a number of bodily samples including urine, oral fluids, hair, blood, and sweat. Although the purpose behind drug testing in different industries may vary, the general aim of such testing is to protect both the individual being testing along with the general public from the harms that may ensue while one is under the influence of alcohol or an illicit substance that may interfere with normal functioning.

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