A NUMBER of suggestions have been made recently that American physicians can support the nationwide drive against drug abuse by voluntarily submitting to urine testing to show that they are drug free. As a career medical officer in the US Army, I have watched our mandatory screening program for a number of years and can offer the following observations.
Prior to starting any such voluntary program, it is essential that a firm decision be made as to what will be done with a positive result. It is not enough to say that the individual will be retested. An immediate decision must be made regarding clinical privileges and, if privileges are continued, to whom the liability falls for allowing an individual who is now "suspect" to continue in practice should an untoward event occur.
Reliability of a drug testing program falls not only on the laboratory, a complex situation in itself,
Scotti MJ. Voluntary Urine Testing of Physicians. JAMA. 1987;257(22):3115. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390220113032