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Drug Abuse and Testing in Law Enforcement: No Easy Answers

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 60 Issue: 6 Dated: (June 1991) Pages: 12-15
Date Published
4 pages
Drug abuse in police departments is probably tempered by the role police play in community drug prevention education, high entrance standards, background checks, and a professional code of ethics. But police administrators need to confront the issue of drug testing within their departments.

A survey by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) indicated that many administrators are moving positively to protect their agencies against drug abuse. While drug testing policies are being developed, some departments have implemented interim measures including monitoring the presence of certain indicators of drug abuse among officers. According to a recent public opinion poll, 85 percent of citizens believe that police departments should institute routine drug testing for officers. Furthermore, police administrators could be held liable in cases where an officer's performance is impaired by drug use. In formulating a drug policy, police managers must consider privacy rights, legal aspects of testing, community standards, and implementation measures. To deal with drug abuse among officers, departments should develop a comprehensive drug abuse program, initiate an educational campaign for employees, and design guidelines for drug testing. 5 references

Date Published: January 1, 1991