Drug testing is an important step in identifying and intervening with substance-abusing youth.2 To be effective, an appropriate planning process should precede implementation of a drug-testing program. All drug testing should be followed by interventions.
Agencies and communities differ, so it is not realistic to assume a universal program of drug testing could be developed and applied. The projects reviewed in this Summary performed urinalysis on youth both before and after adjudication. This resulted in some significant differences in how the programs were implemented and how the results of testing were used. Several important considerations in designing programs to identify and intervene with substance-abusing youth are described on the following pages. For additional information, please consult the references and suggested readings that appear later in this Summary.
Assessment of needs and resources
Any new program should be based on identified needs of the community, the agency, and the youth and families to be served. The objective of the needs and resources assessment is to gain a clear sense of the demonstrated and perceived need for a program and to understand the obstacles and opportunities the program might encounter. Methods of assessment include:
2 Information for this section is taken from the following sources unless otherwise documented: American Correctional Association, Prototype Drug Testing Program for Juvenile Detainees, Laurel, MD: American Correctional Association, 1991: American Correctional Association and Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., Final Report, Laurel, MD: American Correctional Association, 1994; American Probation and Parole Association, Drug Testing Guidelines and Practices for Juvenile Probation and Parole Agencies, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1992; and A.H. Crowe and P.J. Schaefer Identifying and Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth, Lexington, KY: American Probation and Parole Association, 1992.