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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 156740 Find in a Library
Title: Use and Abuse of Drug Tests: A Guide for Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors
Journal: Criminal Justice  Volume:5  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1991)  Pages:2-8,27
Author(s): K B Zeese
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the expanded use of drug testing within and outside the justice system and assesses the legal and policy implications.
Abstract: The use of urine tests in employment, sports, schools, and licensing to identify drug use is symptomatic of the system's inability to win the war on drugs. Within the justice system, pretrial drug testing includes the testing of individuals after they have been arrested but before arraignment and a bond hearing, as well as the testing of individuals after arraignment as a condition of pretrial release. The use of drug tests in criminal prosecutions is rare. This may change as drug testing becomes more common in other stages of the criminal justice system and other segments of society. The primary and most common use of drug tests in the criminal justice system is in postconviction situations. When individuals are incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, their rights are reduced, and drug testing is a way to identify drug use while an offender is under the jurisdiction of a criminal justice agency. Although search and seizure issues may not arise in revocation hearings or other criminal justice settings, other grounds exist for excluding urine-testing results or for minimizing their impact; for example, if testing results are not properly confirmed, their reliability and admissibility as fact in any procedure should be questioned. The strongest requirement for confirmation testing came in the settlement of a New Jersey class action suit filed by inmates in the State prison system. Under the settlement, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry confirmation is required for marijuana testing. Thin-layer chromatography is required for amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and barbiturates; gas chromatography is required for alcohol-use confirmation.
Main Term(s): Drug testing
Index Term(s): Pretrial drug testing; Right of privacy; Search and seizure; Urinalysis
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