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Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Juvenile Accountability Incentive

Block Grants Program

John J. Wilson, Acting Administrator

May 2000

From the
The link between juvenile Developing a Policy for
substance abuse and delinquency
is well established. Unfortunately,
youth are beginning to use
Controlled Substance
alcohol and drugs at younger
ages and increasing their use
Testing of Juveniles
as they grow older.
This OJJDP Bulletin provides an Ann H. Crowe and Linda Sydney
overview of substance testing,
describes the major indicators This Bulletin is part of OJJDP’s Juvenile hold juvenile offenders accountable for their
Accountability Incentive Block Grants behavior. An indepth description of the
of the need for such testing,
(JAIBG) Best Practices Series. The basic JAIBG program and a list of the 12 program
and summarizes the research
premise underlying the JAIBG program, purpose areas appear in the overview Bulletin
on recent trends in substance
initially funded in fiscal year 1998, is that for this series.
abuse. The consequences of
young people who violate the law need to be
juvenile substance abuse are This paper examines practices for imple-
held accountable for their offenses if society is
considerable, including the menting a policy of controlled substance
to improve the quality of life in the Nation’s
social, emotional, and economic testing for appropriate categories of juve-
communities. Holding a juvenile offender
costs documented in this niles within the juvenile justice system
“accountable” in the juvenile justice system
publication. The Bulletin also (program area 12). The Conference Report
means that once the juvenile is determined
provides several examples of through which the U.S. Senate and House
to have committed law-violating behavior,
substance abuse testing within of Representatives reached agreement re-
by admission or adjudication, he or she is
the juvenile justice system. garding the JAIBG program and other is-
held responsible for the act through conse-
sues funded within the legislation states:
quences or sanctions, imposed pursuant to
The authors recommend an
law, that are proportionate to the offense. . . . no State or unit of local government
approach more fully detailed
Consequences or sanctions that are applied may receive a grant under this program
in Ten Steps for Implementing a
swiftly, surely, and consistently, and are unless such State or unit of local govern-
Program of Controlled Substance
graduated to provide appropriate and effec- ment has implemented, or will imple-
Abuse Testing of Juveniles, a com- tive responses to varying levels of offense ment. . . a policy of controlled substance
panion Bulletin in the JAIBG seriousness and offender chronicity, work testing for appropriate categories of juve-
Best Practices series. I com- best in preventing, controlling, and reducing niles within the juvenile justice system
mend both these Bulletins to further law violations. and funds received under this program
your consideration. may be expended for such purpose. . . .
In an effort to help States and units of local
John J. Wilson government develop programs in the 12 pur-
Acting Administrator pose areas established for JAIBG funding, Overview of Substance Testing
Bulletins in this series are designed to present Scientists have been able to test for drugs
the most up-to-date knowledge to juvenile for many years. Early chromatography
justice policymakers, researchers, and practi- processes were developed around 1900,
tioners about programs and approaches that but their application to testing urine for
drugs did not occur until the 1960’s. In ■ Supervising and monitoring a Extent of Substance Abuse
the 1970’s, immunoassay technologies youth’s compliance with court
Several national studies provide in-
were developed. Spurred by rising conditions or program rules.
formation about trends in alcohol and
rates of drug use in the 1970’s and
■ Confronting youth who deny other drug use by youth and can be
1980’s, drug testing in the criminal
substance abuse or addiction. used for comparison with jurisdic-
and juvenile justice system evolved.
tional data.1 The following summa-
The first use of urinalysis to assess ■ Determining which drugs are pres-
rizes recent trends in substance abuse
the drug status of people in jail was ently used by juveniles within the
among youth in the United States:
reported in 1977 (Mieczkowski and jurisdiction and discerning patterns
Lersch, 1997). and prevalence of use in various ■ Youth in the general population
localities. have reported steadily rising levels
Within the past 20 years, both the
of alcohol and other drug use since
technology for drug testing and the ■ Collecting evidence for prosecution
1992, but levels of use have not re-
perceived need for it have expanded or revocation. (This is rarely done
turned to the peak rates reported
markedly. Drug testing now is used in juvenile justice.)
in the 1980’s (Substance Abuse and
throughout all components of the
To be effective for the selected pur- Mental Health Services Adminis-
criminal and juvenile justice systems.
pose, drug testing must be adminis- tration [SAMHSA], 1998; Johnston,
However, it is not applied consis-
tered correctly. This requires develop- O’Malley, and Bachman, 1998).
tently; that is, the purpose for test-
ing policies and procedures, training
ing and the extent of its application ■ Youth are beginning to use alco-
staff, and evaluating the program to
in justice programs vary. In general, hol and other drugs at earlier ages,
ensure that it is appropriately imple-
juvenile justice agencies have not and use increases steadily with
mented and legally defensible. This
employed drug testing to the degree age (SAMHSA, 1998; Johnston,
Bulletin provides a summary of key
that it has been used in the adult O’Malley, and Bachman, 1998).
decisions and steps that must be taken
criminal justice system.
to develop a program of controlled ■ As youth perceive that alcohol
With emerging technologies, changing substance testing and select the appro- and other drugs are less harmful
levels and patterns of drug use, rising priate categories of juveniles to test. than they previously believed or
public concern, and growing political their attitudes about the use of al-
support, drug testing is increasingly Major Indicators of Need cohol and other drugs become less
used in juvenile justice (Mieczkowski negative, their use of these sub-
and Lersch, 1997). Drug testing of juve- for Substance Testing stances increases (SAMHSA, 1998;
niles can be used for several purposes, The use of alcohol and other illicit sub-
including the following: stances is undeniably linked with de- 1
The Monitoring the Future study, supported by the
linquency among youth in the juvenile National Institute on Drug Abuse, has surveyed high
■ Identifying youth who are using
justice system (Bureau of Justice Statis- school seniors for more than 20 years; more recently,
alcohol and other drugs. these surveys, in which a nationally representative
tics [BJS], 1992). Both income-generating
sample of students answer questions about their alcohol
■ Screening for the presence of sub- crimes and violent offenses may be re- and other drug use, have expanded to include college
stances that may pose a risk to the lated to alcohol and other drug use by students and 8th and 10th graders (Johnston, O’Malley,
health and safety of a particular juveniles. Youth whose consumption of and Bachman, 1998). Written questionnaires and inter-
viewer-conducted surveys in participants’ homes are
youth or others with whom he or alcohol and other drugs goes beyond used to gather data for the National Household Survey
she has contact. experimental or social use often need on Drug Abuse, sponsored by the U.S. Department of
increasing amounts of the psychoactive Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and
■ Assessing the risks and needs of Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),
substances and may resort to stealing, which is administered to a sample of Americans, ages
youthful offenders and indicating
shoplifting, burglary, prostitution, and 12 and older, who live in the general community
whether there is a need for further (noninstitutionalized), have a permanent address, and
other income-producing crimes to
evaluation and treatment for sub- are not on active military duty (SAMHSA, 1998). The
purchase them. Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program imple-
stance abuse or other services.
mented by the U.S. Department of Justice, National
Chemicals also affect behavior, some- Institute of Justice (NIJ), was conducted with male
■ Helping develop appropriate case
times leading to criminal conduct. Im- juveniles in 12 cities across the country in 1997. They
plans for youth. were asked to voluntarily submit to urinalysis and an
paired judgment and aggressiveness
interview about their use of illicit drugs at the time of
■ Deterring the use of alcohol and are among the effects of alcohol and their arrest or detention (NIJ, 1998). A statistical analysis
other drugs by juveniles. some other drugs. Behavioral conse- of drug offense cases in juvenile court from 1986 to
quences may include impaired driv- 1995, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office
of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, pro-
ing, risky sexual activity, disorderly vides additional data regarding juveniles’ involvement
conduct, and violence. with alcohol and other drugs (Stahl, 1998).

Special Concerns About Treatment for Adolescents
Adolescent substance abusers are more difficult to treat ■ Limiting assessment to substance abuse alone and
than adult substance abusers.The pressures created by thus excluding the diagnosis of contributing disorders
physical, hormonal, and emotional changes produce that may complicate or interfere with treatment.
stressors that are magnified by typical adolescent develop- ■ Standardizing treatment and not considering adoles-
mental drives for individuality, separation, autonomy, and cent developmental stages or the specific needs created
social acceptance. Lacking life experience, youth often have by the age, gender, ethnicity, and other disorders of the
difficulty controlling their impulses or making appropriate adolescent substance abuser.
decisions. Chemical dependence intensifies the behavior
problems associated with adolescent development and ■ Using adult criteria for treatment services that do not
simultaneously delays emotional development. Substance- consider the psychological and clinical needs created by
the developmental stages of adolescents.
abusing adolescents are frequently members of dysfunc-
tional families in which there is no appropriate role model ■ Ignoring the family’s contribution to the adolescent’s
or support. An estimated 7 million children are growing up addictive disorder and possible solutions that could
with at least one substance-abusing parent, and approxi- strengthen the family unit. Family-focused services for
mately 38 percent of all child abuse cases have parental adolescents have more successful outcomes than those
substance abuse as a factor.These multiple disorders— that focus only on individual youth.
mental, medical, and developmental—interfere with the
Note: This material is based on contributions from Roberta Messalle,
progress and effectiveness of treatment. For that reason, Office of Evaluation, Scientific Analysis and Synthesis, Center for Substance
the most successful treatment for any adolescent is based Abuse Treatment.
on an assessment of each contributing factor and is Source: Crowe, A.H., and Sydney, L. 2000. Ten Steps for Implementing a
Program of Controlled Substance Testing of Juveniles. Bulletin. Washington, DC:
designed for that individual. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Just as services must be specialized for them, there are
several pitfalls to avoid when planning a treatment
program for adolescents, including the following:

Johnston, O’Malley, and Bachman, ■ In the Monitoring the Future study among youth in the juvenile justice
1998). (Johnston, O’Malley, and Bachman, system is largely unknown, research
1998), 12th graders reported use of suggests that these problems are sig-
■ Among male youth entering the juve-
psychoactive substances throughout nificantly greater for juvenile delin-
nile justice system in 13 cities across
their lives, and the most frequently quents than for other youth (Bilchik,
the country, between 40.3 percent and
reported substances used were: 1998). Applying the prevalence rates
68.7 percent tested positive for illicit

for youth in the general population to
drugs at arrest or booking according Alcohol (81.7 percent).
the approximately 848,100 youth an-
to the 1998 report of the Drug Abuse ■ Cigarettes (65.4 percent). nually involved in the juvenile court
Monitoring Program (National Insti-

system when they developed their
tute of Justice [NIJ], 1999). Marijuana/Hashish (49.6
report, Otto and colleagues (1992)
■ Male juveniles with drug offenses estimated the following:
have the highest rates of positive ■ Smokeless Tobacco (25.3
■ Fourteen to twenty percent, or
urinalyses for illegal drugs, but percent).
118,700 to 186,500 youth, have
property and violent offenses ■ Stimulants (16.5 percent). at least one mental disorder.
clearly are also linked to drug use
(NIJ, 1998). Unfortunately, national ■ Inhalants (16.1 percent). ■ Thirty-two percent, or 271,400
data about substance abuse by fe- ■
youth, have an alcohol abuse or
Hallucinogens (15.1 percent).
male delinquents are not available. dependence disorder.
Although the prevalence of mental
■ There was a sharp increase (145 ■ Eleven percent, or 93,300 youth,
health and substance abuse disorders
percent) in drug offense cases in have a substance abuse or depen-
juvenile court between 1991 and dence disorder.
1995 (Stahl, 1998).

Consequences of youth being more likely to engage many others in the community.
in unprotected sex. Diagnosed Often there is an additional burden
Substance Abuse cases of AIDS are relatively low for the support of adolescents and
Among Youth among teenagers compared with young adults who are not able to
Youth who use alcohol and other most other age groups; however, support themselves. Further, sub-
drugs persistently face an array of because there is often a long la- stance-abusing youth increase the
possible consequences, including: tency period between infection overall demands for treatment of
with the virus and the onset of substance abuse and medical condi-
■ School problems. A lowered com- AIDS symptoms, it is conceivable tions (Gropper, 1985).
mitment to education, declining that many young adults with
grades, absenteeism from school Increasingly, drug abuse and addiction
AIDS may have been infected
and related activities, increased are viewed as both health and social
with HIV as adolescents.
potential for dropping out, and problems. Addiction is considered a
higher truancy rates are linked to ■ Peer relationships. Youth who use chronic, relapsing disorder, character-
adolescent substance abuse alcohol and other drugs may be ized by the compulsion to seek drugs
(Hawkins, Catalano, and Miller, alienated from and stigmatized by and use them despite negative conse-
1992). Students’ cognitive and be- their peers. They often disengage quences. Virtually all drugs of abuse
havioral problems precipitated by from school and community activi- have similar damaging effects on the
alcohol and other drug use not ties because of their substance brain, and prolonged use can cause ex-
only affect their own academic per- abuse, depriving their peers and tensive changes in brain function that
formance, but also may disrupt communities of the positive contri- will persist even after drug use stops.
learning by their peers (BJS, 1992). butions they might otherwise make. Because substance abuse and addiction
result in changes in brain function,
■ Health and safety consequences. ■ Social, developmental, and
treatment must reverse or help the in-
Accidental injuries, physical dis- emotional consequences. Youth
dividual compensate for those changes.
abilities, diseases, and possible who abuse alcohol and other drugs
Often both medical treatment (e.g.,
overdoses are among the risks for often experience depression, devel-
medication) and behavioral treatment
alcohol- and drug-using youth. opmental lags, apathy, withdrawal,
are required to intervene effectively
Drug-related suicides, homicides, and other psychosocial disorders.
with the substance-abusing individual
accidents, and illnesses may result Substance-abusing youth are at
(Leshner, 1998). Thus, a primary purpose
in death for some youth. Alcohol- higher risk for conduct problems,
of drug testing must be to identify
related traffic fatalities have de- depression, suicidal thoughts, at-
youth who are abusing substances and
clined for young drivers, but youth tempted suicide, completed sui-
help them receive appropriate treat-
still are overrepresented in this cide, and personality disorders.
ment services to manage this chronic
area. The volume of drug-related Marijuana use has been shown to
condition—just as communities,
hospital emergency episodes for interfere with short-term memory,
schools, and families would seek
youth ages 12 to 17 reported by the learning, and psychomotor skills.
appropriate treatment for any other
Drug Abuse Warning Network Motivation and psychosexual de-
physical or mental condition that limits
(Greenblatt, 1997), a national survey velopment also may be impaired
a youth’s ability to realize a productive
conducted annually by SAMHSA, by marijuana use (BJS, 1992).
and satisfying future.
rose steadily beginning in 1992 and ■ Family Issues. Substance abuse also
peaked in 1995 at 60,881. A slight jeopardizes many aspects of family
decline, to 59,072 emergency room Key Elements of
life and may both lead to and result
episodes, was reported in 1996. from dysfunctional families. Siblings Implementing a Program
Use of alcohol and other drugs and parents are affected profoundly of Substance Testing
increases the risk that youth will by youth involved in alcohol and Eight recommendations distilled from
contract HIV or other sexually other drug use. Substance abuse and previous projects on drug testing in
transmitted diseases. Injection of its consequences may drain family juvenile justice agencies provide an
psychoactive substances with un- financial and emotional resources overview of the key elements of a
sterile needles and other equip- (Nowinski, 1990; BJS, 1992). successful program (Crowe, 1998):
ment is strongly associated with ■ Social and Economic Costs. Mon-
transmission of HIV. The effects ■ Program planning, development,
etary expenditures and emotional and implementation should involve
of mood-altering substances, such distress related to alcohol- and
as poor judgment and diminished all potentially affected persons,
drug-related crimes by youth affect including agency administrators,
impulse control, may result in

Offsite or Onsite Testing
The testing process may be conducted in three ways: and must follow the manufacturer’s suggested proce-
dures for operation. The instruments must be calibrated
■ By using a certified laboratory.
regularly as directed by the manufacturer to ensure test
■ By using an onsite instrument operated by trained accuracy. Policies and procedures should include meth-
personnel. ods for monitoring each aspect of the testing process to
■ By using onsite noninstrument-based tests (small kits or ensure quality control. Further, safety precautions for
handheld devices) at the point of contact with the youth. conducting the tests should be incorporated in agency
policies. Results should be available relatively quickly
Several factors should be considered when selecting with this type of testing; however, sometimes it is more
the most appropriate process for a particular jurisdic- practical and cost-effective to run tests only when there
tion or program. Costs, staff training, and the time it are enough specimens to use all of the instrument’s
takes to obtain results are some of the important areas capacity (Crowe and Schaefer, 1992).
to consider.
Onsite Noninstrument-Based Testing
Laboratory Testing
Several manufacturers have developed portable test
Using a laboratory to complete the tests usually re- devices that are variously called kits, handheld tests, or
quires a contract for services. This demands excellent point-of-contact tests.These tests can analyze for a single
chain-of-custody procedures because the specimen and drug, and some are available that will detect several drugs
the results will leave the juvenile justice agency for at the same time.They are suitable for initial testing and
processing. The agency and the laboratory should enter provide qualitative results (the drug is present or not
into a written contract specifying the laboratory’s testing found in the sample).The cutoff levels for these tests are
equipment, staff qualifications, chain-of-custody practices, set by the manufacturers and usually are consistent with
and other procedures. The laboratory should have in government and industry standards. Staff training is very
place procedures for quality control to ensure the important when using these devices. Manufacturer’s
accuracy, validity, precision, performance, and reliability instructions for operation should be strictly followed. An
of the tests. Sending specimens to a laboratory will advantage of this method is the immediacy of results; tests
require a longer time to obtain results, but the turn- can be performed while the youth watches.The tests also
around time should be limited to 72 hours or less can be used outside the agency, such as on home visits.
(Crowe and Schaefer, 1992). Usually, a commercial However, agencies should consider and develop protocols
laboratory service will be used, but in some communi- for all testing that include consideration of staff and youth
ties, there may be a possibility of obtaining services safety (Crowe and Schaefer, 1992).
through a criminal justice or healthcare agency labora-
tory. Even if an agency plans to do initial testing onsite, a Note: For more information about these testing options, see
“Contracting for drug testing services,” “Establishing juvenile justice
laboratory should be identified and contracted to onsite instrument-based drug testing for initial drug testing,” and
perform any necessary confirmatory tests. “Establishing non-instrument-based drug testing” in Drug Testing
Guidelines for Juvenile Probation and Parole Agencies, American Probation
Onsite Instrument-Based Testing and Parole Association, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Testing instruments can be purchased or leased for use Prevention, 1992.
at an agency for initial immunoassay tests. These instru- Source: Crowe, A.H., and Sydney, L. 2000. Ten Steps for Implementing a
ments can test for one drug at a time or for a group of Program of Controlled Substance Testing of Juveniles. Bulletin. Washington,
DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of
drugs. Staff who operate these machines must be trained Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

line personnel, key juvenile justice ■ The agency’s program purpose ■ The program must have written
stakeholders, youth and family should complement its mission policies and procedures that all
members, and community represen- statement. staff read, understand, and follow.
tatives. Interagency partnerships
■ There should be a clear rationale and ■ When used on an ongoing basis, test-
should be forged to provide the ar-
procedure for identifying youth to ing should be administered with suf-
ray of treatment and other services
be included in the program. ficient frequency and randomness to
needed by substance-abusing youth.

identify and deter continued sub- certainty the drug-using activities of
stance abuse. youth they serve. It allows monitoring Figure 1: Steps for
of these activities and can be used with Developing a
■ Every use of drug testing should be Substance-Testing
graduated sanctions to coerce absti-
followed by an intervention. Results Program
nence. It helps juvenile justice practitio-
of tests administered in detention be-
ners identify youth who need substance Involve key stakeholders.
fore youth are adjudicated should be
abuse treatment and provide them with
used for developing appropriate case
more appropriate referrals. Such a pro-
plans. After adjudication, positive
gram also helps agencies document the Determine program purpose.
tests should be followed by treatment
need for treatment in communities
responses, graduated sanctions, or
where it is not yet available.
both. Negative tests should be fol-
lowed by praise, rewards, and en- Substance testing also has the potential Investigate legal issues.
couragement. Interventions should to increase demands on the juvenile
be appropriate for the developmental justice system. When monitoring youth
stage of the youth and tailored to in- on probation or in aftercare for sub- Identify youth to be tested.
dividual case plans. stance abuse, it is likely that positive
test results will occur. Depending on
■ Staff involved in the program Select methodology.
policies for use of results, this may lead
should receive ongoing training.
to identifying more youth for technical
■ Ongoing program evaluation should violations and thus greater caseloads
be conducted, and the information for juvenile courts and agencies.
Decide how to use results
obtained from the evaluation should and arrange for adequate
Cost is another area in which juvenile and appropriate treatment.
be the basis for decisions about the
justice components will be affected.
future direction of the program. Cur-
Substance testing involves significant
rently, juveniles are underserved in
expense for staff, supplies, tests, train-
drug treatment. Develop written policies
ing, and other costs. On the other hand,
there is the potential for a substance- and procedures.
Major Steps for Program testing program to save money in the
Implementation long run. If substance abuse is identi-
fied as a problem and youth are able to Obtain funding.
A 10-step process, shown in figure 1,
enter recovery and maintain abstinence
is recommended for development
through treatment, they are less likely
and implementation of a substance- Develop staff.
to cycle through the system multiple
testing program. Although these
times. Identifying youth who need
steps are presented independently, in
treatment and obtaining it for them
practice they are likely to overlap, Evaluate the program.
may save money in misused correc-
with final determinations of program
tional programs. An agency that is
policies and procedures at one step
correctly identifying substance-abusing
contingent on other decisions. A com-
youth, properly running a substance-
panion JAIBG Bulletin, Ten Steps for An effective testing program can help
testing program, and continually evalu-
Implementing a Program of Controlled youth abstain from drug use.
ating the program will be credible in
Substance Testing of Juveniles (Crowe
the eyes of youth, families, the com- Proponents of restorative justice con-
and Sydney, 2000), presents an
munity, courts, and peer agencies. ceive of accountability as the obligation
indepth discussion of the 10 steps.
to amend the harm caused to victims
Potential Impact on and the community by a youth’s delin-
Potential Impact on quent actions. By properly identifying
Juvenile Justice System Accountability of youth whose delinquency is associated
Components Affected Youth with drug use, agencies can help them
Untreated youth substance abuse is understand the harm they have caused,
A substance-testing program in juvenile not only to themselves, but to others.
an increasing problem. A testing pro-
justice agencies has both positive and Youth should be involved in paying
gram helps identify youth with drug-
problematic ramifications. The program restitution, with money or services, to
using habits that need to be addressed
allows agencies to know with greater their victims. For example, projects
with treatment and graduated sanctions.

such as cleaning areas where teen par- ■ Developing skills for leading alcohol assessments are arranged to
ties involving alcohol and other drugs productive, substance-free, determine their treatment needs. The
have taken place may help juveniles and law-abiding lives. juvenile court judge also may use the
understand in concrete terms how sub- information to make decisions about
Juvenile drug courts are structured to
stance abuse diminishes the quality of the disposition of the case (Dooley,
encourage youth to take responsibility
life for an entire community. 1994). For youth in the community
for their actions. The courts employ
who test positive, sanctions may be
positive rewards and incentives for
Program Examples applied by probation officers.
compliance and negative sanctions for
The following descriptions provide ex- noncompliance. Consistency and pre- A policies and procedures manual pro-
amples of substance-testing programs dictability are stressed. These courts vides detailed steps for the chain of
in a variety of juvenile justice agencies. often have the authority to compel the custody of specimens. Consent forms
Many of these programs are still work- parents of youth in the program to be are signed by both the youth and a
ing to improve their testing protocols involved in their child’s rehabilitation. parent when a youth in a community
and have set goals for changes that will However, judges have found persua- placement is tested. The program
further benefit the youth they serve. A sion is often more effective than coer- maintains a log of test procedures, has
list of contacts for these programs is cion. Juvenile and family drug courts forms that must be completed, and
contained in the “For Further Informa- also stress treating children and fami- keeps test results for 5 years. The su-
tion” section of this Bulletin. lies holistically and responding sensi- pervisor confirms each test reading.
tively to issues of cultural diversity Inconclusive tests are counted as nega-
(DCCTAP, 1998). tive, but parents are advised to have
Juvenile and Family
the youth tested again.
Drug Courts
Substance Testing in Juvenile In this rural area, treatment resources
One evolving strategy for working with
substance-abusing youth and their fami- Detention Facilities are limited. Referrals are made to one
lies is the use of juvenile and family The following two programs were ini- intensive outpatient program. On oc-
drug courts. Although adult drug courts tiated in 1993 with the support of the casion, youth may be committed to the
have been in existence longer, the first American Correctional Association State to secure the financial resources
juvenile drug courts were developed through an OJJDP-funded project. for needed treatment.
in 1995. A juvenile drug court focuses Madison County Juvenile Court Ser- This program has enjoyed the sup-
on delinquency and status offenses vices, Jackson, TN. In 1993, Madison port of staff and the family court
that involve substance-abusing juve- County Juvenile Court Services re- judge. The Juvenile Court Services
niles. Youth usually are referred to ceived assistance from an American Agency pays for the cost of testing.
these courts after adjudication. Family Correctional Association project to
drug courts handle custody, visitation, Marion County Juvenile Detention
develop a drug-testing program in Center, Marion, OH. This midsize
abuse, neglect, dependency, and other the juvenile detention center. The
types of cases that involve parental facility houses 38 youth at a time
facility has 7 secure bedrooms and and serves 2,600 youth each year. All
rights and substance abuse issues. These serves 18 rural counties between
courts provide immediate intervention youth who enter the facility are tested
Memphis and Nashville. during the admission process. Chain-
with youth and family members who
use drugs and for children exposed to Youth are tested at the time they are of-custody procedures include label-
substance abuse by family members. brought to the detention center. The ing specimens at collection, logging
The courts provide structure and sup- program also conducts random test- all movement of specimens, and stor-
port in the lives of the participants by ing of youth in community-based ing them in a refrigerator until tested.
doing the following (Drug Court Clear- programs. The program routinely Although the program at one time
inghouse and Technical Assistance tests for marijuana and cocaine. How- tested for additional substances, it now
Project [DCCTAP], 1998): ever, youth are tested for a broader limits testing to marijuana and cocaine
spectrum of five drugs approximately because of funding restraints. All staff
■ Providing opportunities for youth four times a year to determine if any
to be clean and sober. are trained to collect specimens during
new drugs are being used by juve- their initial orientation, and testing is
■ Supporting youth in resisting fur- niles in the area. Specimen collection done onsite by two staff members spe-
ther criminal behavior. is observed, and tests are performed cially trained to operate the testing in-
onsite using a test kit. struments. There is a checklist of proce-
■ Encouraging positive school
performance and constructive When youth in the detention center dures for staff to follow.
relationships. test positive, professional drug and

The testing instrument is calibrated Chain-of-custody procedures are fol- Specimen collection is observed, and
before each use, and tests are pro- lowed, results are documented in strict chain-of-custody procedures are
cessed twice per week. If a specimen is probation notes, and a log is kept of followed. If a test is positive, it is re-
positive, it is examined a second time all test results. The department tests peated using either the same or a differ-
using the same test. If positive results for marijuana, cocaine, amphet- ent onsite test. However, if court action
are obtained, the judge and probation amines, PCP, and morphine. If confir- is anticipated, samples are sent to a
officer are notified, but the detention mation tests are requested, the speci- laboratory for confirmation testing.
facility does not impose consequences men is sent to a laboratory.
Results are used for the following
beyond treatment. Referrals for treat-
Results are used to leverage the youth purposes:
ment for juveniles released from the
into treatment and are shared with
program but under the supervision of ■ To document a substance abuse
the youth, parents, and the court, as
the court are made by probation offic- problem and compel youth to at-
appropriate. A youth’s refusal to at-
ers. The Juvenile Detention Center tend treatment.
tend treatment is considered a viola-
pays for testing using agency re-
tion of probation. ■ To hold youth accountable. For the
sources and “Reclaim Ohio” funds.2
first positive result, the probation
At the time of hiring, staff undergo a
officer clarifies the rules and places
Substance Abuse Testing in lengthy Fundamentals of Probation
the youth under house arrest; for a
Practice training course that includes
Probation Programs second positive result, the youth
information about substance abuse
The following two programs began in may be returned to court and pos-
and testing. Supervisors also train staff
1993 and were initially supported by sibly detained; continuing positive
in the specific use of the tests. Evalua-
the American Probation and Parole results may lead to inpatient drug
tion includes two case audits for each
Association through an OJJDP-funded treatment or long-term residential
probation officer each month.
project. placement.
The probation department pays the
Westchester County Probation De- New probation officers attend two
cost of the test and collaborates with
partment, White Plains, NY. Three classes on drugs. Then supervisors
the local mental health agency to have
juvenile probation units within the train them on the program’s policies
counselors perform substance abuse
county do substance testing. They test and demonstrate procedures for the
evaluations before case dispositions.
youth only after adjudication and tests. Officers maintain logs of testing
when ordered by a judge. Youth are Third District Juvenile Court, Cen- activities that are reviewed by super-
tested twice a month if they are on tral Probation, Salt Lake City, UT. visors monthly.
level I supervision and once a month All youth on probation in Utah are
The department budget contains
if they are on level II or III supervi- subject to testing at the discretion of
money for testing, and additional
sion, although youth who are being their assigned probation officer. Youth
funds are received from offender
tested by a treatment program gener- are given a full panel test within 30
fines. A local interagency council and
ally are not also tested by probation.3 days of adjudication, and a thorough
a statewide drug and alcohol commit-
social and drug history is taken.
Specimen collection is observed, and tee coordinate activities. The judges
testing is completed onsite in ap- For the most part, specimens are col- have been supportive of the program,
proximately 4 minutes with test kits. lected and tested onsite using test although a lack of treatment provid-
kits. Some specimens, however, are ers is a concern. Some efforts are di-
sent to a laboratory. The substances rected toward compiling uniform
The RECLAIM Ohio (Reasoned and Equitable Com-
munity and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of
tested for may include marijuana, statewide rules and procedures.
Minors) program was created in 1993 as a result of the amphetamines, cocaine, barbiturates,
passage of Ohio H.B. 152. It is a funding alternative to PCP, and alcohol, but youth are not Conclusion
institutionalizing youth, and it provides judges with
the means to improve services for youthful offenders
necessarily checked for each of these
every time they are tested. The use of alcohol and other drugs is a
in their own communities. Counties receive a yearly
allocation from the Department of Youth Services for central factor in the delinquent behav-
youthful offender treatment. These funds previously ior of many youth. Drug-related crimes
were allocated for State-run institutions and other The levels refer to a classification system that deter- (e.g., possession, trafficking), instru-
State-funded programs but are pooled now and dis- mines probation contact: Level I requires weekly contact
tributed to each county. With this money available, with the youth; level II requires twice monthly contact mental crimes (e.g., robbery, prostitu-
judges are able to make decisions that are in the best with the youth; and level III requires monthly contact tion) to obtain the money to purchase
interest of youth and communities. The RECLAIM with the youth. Youth generally begin probation supervi- drugs, or violent crimes (e.g., assault,
Ohio initiative was selected in 1996 by the Kennedy sion at level I and may progress to less frequent contact
School of Government at Harvard University as one of as their behavior and case situation warrant. murder) resulting from the effects of
the 25 most innovative programs in government. psychoactive substances or from

drug-related “business” cause concern stances. Every test should be followed Drug Court Clearinghouse and Tech-
for those working with juvenile by an intervention. Negative test re- nical Assistance Project (DCCTAP).
populations. The goal of substance sults should be reinforced with re- 1998. Juvenile and Family Drug Courts:
testing of juveniles is to help them wards, praise, and other positive feed- An Overview. Washington, DC: U.S.
stop using psychoactive chemicals. back, and youth should be challenged Department of Justice, Office of Jus-
Substance testing can accomplish the to continue to live substance-free. tice Programs.
following: Youth with positive test results should
Greenblatt, J., ed. 1997. Year-End Pre-
receive graduated sanctions and treat-
■ Identify youth needing treatment liminary Estimates From the 1996 Drug
ment services, as appropriate. Without
and other interventions for sub- Abuse Warning Network. Washington,
this followup, testing programs have
stance abuse. DC: U.S. Department of Health and
little value and can be quite costly. It
Human Services, Substance Abuse and
■ Deter use of alcohol and other also is possible that failure to inter-
Mental Health Services Administration.
drugs, thereby also increasing vene with a youth who tests positive
public safety. could increase an agency’s and/or a Gropper, B.A. 1985. Probing the Links
professional’s liability should the Between Drugs and Crime. Washington,
■ Screen for substances that may lead
youth harm himself or herself or oth- DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office
to health and safety problems for
ers because of illicit substance use. of Justice Programs, National Insti-
the youth and others.
tute of Justice.
■ Assist agency staff in making ap-
References Hawkins, J.D., Catalano, R.F., and
propriate case plans and supervis-
Bilchik, S. 1998. Mental Health Disor- Miller, J.Y. 1992. Risk and protective
ing and monitoring compliance
ders and Substance Abuse Problems factors for alcohol and other drug
with court orders or program rules.
Among Juveniles. Fact Sheet. Washing- problems in adolescence and early
Without this tool, youth involved ton, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, adulthood: Implications for substance
with alcohol and other drugs may not Office of Justice Programs, Office of abuse prevention. Psychological Bulle-
be discovered, and opportunities for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency tin 112(1):64–105.
intervention may be lost. Prevention. Johnston, L.D., O’Malley, P.M., and
Besides providing information to help Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). 1992. Bachman, J.G. 1998. Drug use by
youth, drug testing provides collective Drugs, Crime, and the Justice System. American young people begins to turn
information about overall juvenile drug Washington, DC: U.S. Department of downward. Online. Available at:
use. By analyzing the results of sub- Justice, Office of Justice Programs, www.isr.umich.edu/src/mtf. Accessed:
stance tests, juvenile justice profession- Bureau of Justice Statistics. 6/10/99. To appear in: Johnston, L.D.,
als can learn which substances are most O’Malley, P.M., and Bachman, J.G. In
commonly abused by youth in their Crowe, A.H. 1998. Drug Identification preparation. National Survey Results on
communities, follow changing trends and Testing in the Juvenile Justice Sys- Drug Use From the Monitoring the Future
in the use of substances, and locate ar- tem. Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Study, 1975–1998. Volume I: Secondary
eas within a jurisdiction where youth Department of Justice, Office of Jus- School Students. Rockville, MD: U.S. De-
are using illicit substances. tice Programs, Office of Juvenile Jus- partment of Health and Human Ser-
tice and Delinquency Prevention. vices, National Institutes of Health, Na-
Drug testing also benefits juvenile jus-
Crowe, A.H., and Schaefer, P.J. 1992. tional Institute on Drug Abuse.
tice professionals. Learning about sub-
stance abuse and having the technology Identifying and Intervening with Drug- Leshner, A.I. 1998. Addiction is a brain
to identify youth who are using these Involved Youth. Lexington, KY: Ameri- disease—and it matters. National Insti-
substances help staff intervene more can Probation and Parole Association. tute of Justice Journal 237:2–6.
effectively. Substance testing also has Crowe, A.H., and Sydney, L. 2000. Ten Mieczkowski, T., and Lersch, K. 1997.
been popular with parents and com- Steps for Implementing a Program of Drug testing in criminal justice:
munity members who appreciate ef- Substance Testing of Juveniles. Bulletin. Evolving uses, emerging technologies.
forts to prevent substance abuse and Washington, DC: U.S. Department of National Institute of Justice Journal
help youth live prosocial lives. Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 234:9–15.
The most important ingredient of a Office of Juvenile Justice and Delin-
quency Prevention. National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
substance-testing program is what
1998. 1997 Drug Use Forecasting:
comes after the test results have been Dooley, B.C. 1994 (June). Juvenile fa- Annual Report on Adult and Juvenile
obtained—intervening with youth to cility sets up model drug-testing pro-
help them stop using controlled sub- gram. Corrections Today 56(3):104–105.

Arrestees. Washington, DC: U.S. Paula Gibson, LPN Mieczkowski, T. 1997. Hair Assays and
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Senior Drug Testing Technician, Urinalysis Results for Juvenile Drug Of-
Programs, National Institute of Justice. Nursing Supervisor fenders. Research Preview. Washington,
Marion County Juvenile Detention DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office
National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
Center of Justice Programs, National Institute
1999. 1998 Annual Report on Drug Use
1440 Mount Vernon Avenue of Justice.
Among Adult and Juvenile Arrestees.
Marion, OH 43302
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Pretrial Services Resource Center. 1998.
Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Pretrial Drug Testing: Overview of Issues
National Institute of Justice. Bill Croft and Practices. Washington, DC: Pretrial
Supervisor of Family Court Unit Services Resource Center.
Nowinski, J. 1990. Substance Abuse in
Westchester County Probation
Adolescents and Young Adults: A Guide Robinson, J.J., and Cargain, M.J. 1998.
to Treatment. New York, NY: W.W. Criminal justice drug testing: Burgeon-
111 Grove Street, Fifth Floor
Norton and Company. ing technology in applications for the
White Plains, NY 10603
future. Journal of Offender Monitoring
Otto, R.K., Greenstein, J.J., Johnson, 914–633–1304
M.K., and Friedman, R.M. 1992.
Mike Pepper
Prevalence of mental disorders
Probation Supervisor Substance Abuse Treatment
among youth in the juvenile justice
Third District Juvenile Court The Center for Substance Abuse Treat-
system. In Responding to the Mental
Central Probation ment publishes numerous protocols
Health Needs of Youth in the Juvenile
1750 West, 4160 South, Suite 200 and technical assistance materials on
Justice System, edited by J.J. Cocozza.
Salt Lake City, UT 84119 substance abuse treatment. All are free
Seattle, WA: The National Coalition
801–969–9904 of charge and available from:
for the Mentally Ill.
Stahl, A.L. 1998. Drug Offense Cases Suggested Readings National Clearinghouse for Alcohol
in Juvenile Court 1986–1995. Fact Sheet. and Drug Information (NCADI)
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Drug Testing P.O. Box 2345
Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Rockville, MD 20857–2345
The following publications offer addi-
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delin- 800–729–6686
tional information on drug-testing
quency Prevention. strategies and procedures. The following publications may be or-
Substance Abuse and Mental Health dered from NCADI by title and number:
American Probation and Parole Asso-
Services Administration (SAMHSA). ciation. 1992. Drug Testing Guidelines Assessment and Treatment of Patients
1998. Preliminary Results From the 1997 and Practices for Juvenile Probation and with Coexisting Mental Illness and Alco-
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Parole Agencies. Washington, DC: U.S. hol and Other Drug Abuse (BKD134)
Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Department of Justice, Office of Jus-
Health and Human Services, Office of Combining Alcohol and Other Drug
tice Programs, Office of Juvenile Jus-
Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Abuse Treatment with Diversion for Juve-
tice and Delinquency Prevention.
Mental Health Services Administration. niles in the Justice System (BKD169)
Crowe, A.H. 1998. Drug Identification
Comprehensive Case Management for
and Testing in the Juvenile Justice Sys-
For Further Information tem. Summary. Washington, DC: U.S.
Substance Abuse Treatment (BKD251)
Department of Justice, Office of Jus- Detoxification from Alcohol and Other
Contacts for Program tice Programs, Office of Juvenile Jus- Drugs (BKD172)
Examples tice and Delinquency Prevention.
Guidelines for the Treatment of Alcohol and
Barbara Dooley
Crowe, A.H., and Schaefer, P.J. 1992. Other Drug Abusing Adolescents (BKD109)
Identifying and Intervening with Drug-
Madison County Juvenile Court Juvenile Justice Treatment Planning Chart
Involved Youth. Lexington, KY: Ameri-
Services (PHD598)
can Probation and Parole Association.
224 Lexington Avenue
Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment:
Jackson, TN 38301 Del Carmen, R.V., and Sorensen, J.R.
A Research-Based Guide (BKD347)
901–423–6140 1988. Legal issues in drug testing pro-
bationers and parolees. Federal Proba- The Role and Current Status of Patient
tion 52(4):19–27. Placement Criteria in the Treatment of
Substance Use Disorders (BKD161)

Screening and Assessment of Alcohol and Legal Action Center National Juvenile Detention
Other Drug Abusing Adolescents 153 Waverly Place, Eighth Floor Association
(BKD108) New York, NY 10014 Eastern Kentucky University
212–243–1313 217 Perkins Building
Simple Screening Instruments for Out-
Richmond, KY 40475–3127
reach for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse National Association of Drug
and Infectious Diseases (BKD143) Court Professionals
901 North Pitt Street, Suite 300 National Treatment Accountability
Substance Abuse Treatment Planning
Alexandria, VA 22314 for Safer Communities
Guide and Checklist for Treatment-Based
703–706–0576 1911 North Fort Meyer Drive,
Drug Courts (SMA 97–3136)
703–706–0565 (fax) Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22209
Organizations National Association of State
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
American Correctional Association 703–741–7698 (fax)
444 North Capitol Street NW., Suite 642
4380 Forbes Boulevard
Washington, DC 20001 Office of Justice Programs
Lanham, MD 20706–4322
202–783–6868 Drug Court Clearinghouse and
Technical Assistance Project
301–918–1900 (fax) National Center for Juvenile Justice
American University, Brandywine 660
701 Forbes Avenue
American Probation and 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219–3000
Parole Association Washington, DC 20016–8159
Juvenile Drug Testing Project 202–885–2875
412–227–6955 (fax)
P.O. Box 11910 202–885–2885 (fax)
Lexington, KY 40578–1910 National Center on Addiction and
Office of Juvenile Justice and
606–244–8192 Substance Abuse
Delinquency Prevention
606–244–8001 (fax) 152 West 57th Street
U.S. Department of Justice
New York, NY 10019
Center for Substance Abuse Office of Justice Programs
Treatment 810 Seventh Street NW.
212–956–8020 (fax)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Washington, DC 20531
Services Administration National Clearinghouse for Alcohol 202–307–5911
5600 Fishers Lane, Rockwall II and Drug Information
Pretrial Services Agency
Rockville, MD 20857 P.O. Box 2345
District of Columbia Superior Court
301–443–2467 Rockville, MD 20847–2345
400 F Street NW., Suite 310
301–443–3543 (fax) 800–729–6686
Washington, DC 20001
301–468–6433 (fax)
Centers for Disease Control and 202–727–2911
Prevention National Institute on Alcohol Abuse 202–727–9852 (fax)
U.S. Department of Health and and Alcoholism
Human Services 6000 Executive Boulevard, Wilco
1600 Clifton Road NE. Building
Atlanta, GA 30333 Bethesda, MD 20892–7003
770–488–5292 301–443–3860 Acknowledgments
Drug Courts Program Office National Institute on Drug Abuse Ann H. Crowe and Linda Sydney
U.S. Department of Justice National Institutes of Health are Research Associates at the
Office of Justice Programs 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5213 American Probation and Parole
810 Seventh Street NW. Bethesda, MD 20892 Association.
Washington, DC 20531 301–443–1124
Points of view or opinions expressed in this
202–514–6452 (fax) The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delin- document are those of the authors and do
quency Prevention is a component of the Of- not necessarily represent the official position
Drug Information Hotline
fice of Justice Programs, which also includes or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department
800–662–4357 the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice.
Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of
Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.
Internet: www.ncjrs.org

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