This report lays out the plan for Mandatory Drug Testing (MDT). The general aims of the research were to:
- Obtain information about the misuse of drugs by the prison population and to consider changes in drug misuse in the light of the introduction of mandatory drug testing;
- Collect views from prison staff and prisoners about the supply of drugs in the prison;
- Discover prisoners’ and prison staff’s understanding about drug misuse and the risk of viral infection;
- Assess the arrangements currently available for the treatment of prisoners who have a drug problem.
Several potential problems with MDT were identified, including the following:
- MDT will redirect effort away from treatment and to prevention and have an adverse effect on treatment regimes.
- MDT will concentrate attention on ‘non-problem’ use of cannabis where the resources would have been better used in helping to control heroin use.
- The test will provide an incentive to switch to the use of harder drugs.
- Outside agencies may refuse to accept referrals from MDT because prisoners will be forced into programmes because of positive test results.
University of Central England in Birmingham: Centre for Research into Quality
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