Mandatory drug tests in prisons

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6979.595 (Published 04 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:595
  1. Sheila M Gore,
  2. A Graham Bird
  1. enior statistician MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge CB2 2SR
  2. Consultant immunologist Churchill Hospital, Oxford OX3 7LJ

    EDITOR,—The recent report on Styal prison by the Inspectorate of Prisons highlights the problem of women who start to inject drugs during incarceration, calls for quantitative research on illicit drug taking, and recommends a “clinical model” of drug reduction.1 The Home Office's response is in stark contrast: it is to introduce mandatory drug tests at the prison.2 Prisoners from whom a urine sample is required need not be chosen randomly, refusal to provide a sample breaches prison rules and is punishable, and samples are attributable.

    Mandatory testing, also dubbed a “war on drugs,”3 has been publicised on television and radio …

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