Australian Institute of Criminology

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Drug detection and its role in law enforcement

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 205

John H. Lewis
ISBN 0 642 24230 5 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2001


This paper details drug testing procedures and their usefulness in law enforcement. Currently, testing for illicit drugs is primarily through urinalysis, but the paper also outlines the advantages and disadvantages of using other biological specimens, including saliva and hair. The testing of drugs themselves for identification purposes is also described. Drug testing provides useful corroborative evidence to courts and to law enforcement officers in their line of duty, but further technological developments are needed, which will require appropriate levels of investment in research.