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May 19, 1989

Substance Abuse

JAMA. 1989;261(19):2890-2892. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420190166061

In recent years there has been growing recognition of the problems that substance abuse is causing individuals and our society. These problems exist in many areas, such as health care, social function, and criminal justice. In the past, most federal support for drug abuse was targeted toward law enforcement to reduce the supply of drugs. Now, increasing funds are being appropriated for treatment, research, and prevention.

Numerous approaches have been tried to reduce the supply of and demand for drugs. One effort to reduce the demand has been to increase the amount of random urine testing done by employers and government agencies. Although the data are not entirely clear whether this will be effective in reducing the drug problem, significant effort is being put into increasing the number of urine tests performed. Testing procedures can result in a high degree of accuracy, but it is difficult to maintain such accuracy