Historical Aspects of Drugsof Abuse Testing in the United States

Lawrence A. Reynolds


This chapter examines the early history of testing for abused drugs, starting in Vietnam, and traces its growth and expanded applications in the workplace, criminal justice, and schools. It also examines the role played by drug abuse-related accidents on the USS Nimitz and Amtrak in shaping the field of drug testing. Standardization and process have been applied to this field of analysis through government regulation of mandated testing for government employees. The chapter examines the collection process, laboratory testing, review of test results, and the role of third-party administrators for workplace testing. These methods have also been applied to testing for the private sector. Standards for testing have also been influenced by a combination of technological advances that allow more accurate and useful test results, and government regulations that help ensure the reliability of the testing process.

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