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January 3, 1986

Problems in Testing for Abused Drugs

Author Affiliations

DABFT University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

JAMA. 1986;255(1):39-40. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370010041020

To the Editor.—  Analyses of urine and other specimens for drugs are becoming very popular. Proponents of such drug testing should be prepared to demonstrate the need for the program and to ensure that testing will be properly conducted and the significance of the results properly interpreted. Before submitting to such a program, the person to be tested should have these guarantees.Testing has been proposed or is being done on urine from members of the armed services, employees, applicants for employment, athletes, students, and others. Subjects may be randomly chosen or may be tested after some incident. Positive findings have been interpreted as evidence of use of a drug or that the user was adversely influenced or impaired at some time before the specimen was obtained. The use of such testing may lead to counseling, to termination of employment, to imprisonment, or to other sanctions.The substances sought are