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2. Introduction of simple voluntary urine tests forstimulant drug offenders
In April 2004, probation offices started simple voluntary urine tests as a new treatment measure for adult parolees of Stimulant Drug Control Law violations.
(1) Background and purpose of voluntary urine tests
Stimulant drug offenders tend to repeat similar offenses(see this part,Chapter3.Section2,4,(2),E ),and the development of effective measures to prevent them from drug use have been a long-standing issue in correction.Education programs to stop stimulant drug abuse have been provided in prisons,and the categorized treatment for drug offenders has been revised and drug offenders'guarantors meetings are held in probation offices.In parole/probation supervision,however,the key is to make them suppress their own desire to take drugs in an environment full of temptation,a free society where they can easily obtain drugs if they want or if they have their friends invite them to use drugs.
In some cases,even when a stimulant drug offender refrains from using drugs with great effort,his/her family suspects that he/she may be using drugs secretly.Such attitude of the family leads the offender to think that his/her efforts to stop drug use did not matter,as even his/her family did not believe in him/her,and the offender often gives up and ends up repeating drug use.Therefore,voluntary urine tests were introduced.They strongly motivate drug offenders and support their efforts to refrain from using drugs because the test results serve as visible evidence of their efforts.
Urine tests give stimulant drug offenders the clear goal of refraining from taking drugs until the next test.For most offenders,it is better to set an attainable goal as a first step,because the ultimate goal of stopping drugs for a lifetime seems too idealistic for them to pursue.Even when their resolution to refrain from abusing drugs is weakened by their friend inviting them to use drugs,they may remember their upcoming test and exercise their inner strength to turn down the invitation.The result of the urine test indicating that they have not used drugs gives them a feeling of accomplishment.After passing many tests,they will come to feel confident that they can do without drugs.In this way,urine tests are expected to help drug offenders to voluntarily cease taking drugs.Also,urine tests give objective data to the drug offenders'families and thereby eliminate unfounded suspicions from their families and improve the relationships between the offenders and their families.
Urine tests were introduced not as a means of strict supervision and control over stimulant drug offenders but as a treatment measure to encourage them to live a drug-free life.
(2) Implementing method of urine tests
Since the aim of simple voluntary urine tests is not to supervise or control stimulant drug offenders but to promote their voluntary efforts to stay clean,probation officers must thoroughly explain to offenders the purpose and meaning of the tests.Tests are conducted only on those who have voluntarily given their consent.The officers should notify them of the scheduled date of each test because surprise tests are not in line with the purpose of encouraging them to make their own efforts to pass scheduled tests.
It is necessary for probation offices to spread the understanding of the purpose and nature of voluntary urine tests and to accumulate knowledge to maximize their effects in order to promote their wide use.
How do voluntary urine tests benefit stimulant drug offenders?
The purpose of simple voluntary urine tests is not to supervise and control parolees or probationers but to give them a visible goal to encourage their voluntary efforts to refrain from taking drugs.One might wonder why parolees/probationers agree to take urine tests,which might cause inconvenience to them in some cases,for example,some parolees/probationers have to take a day off work to take a urine test or travel some distance to a probation office.It is because most parolees released from prisons hope to cease taking stimulant drugs and have the determination to adopt a healthy lifestyle.Some parolees/probationers agree to take urine tests to reassure their families that they are clean.
Urine tests provide parolees/probationers with visible results of their efforts.This is the most important aspect of the tests because favorable test results further strengthen their determination to lead a drug-free life.Those parolees/probationers who have passed urine tests can share their joy with probation officers and can also give their families reassurance.Reassured families will be able to support their lives with peaceful mind.Ideally,parolees/probationers quit stimulant drugs after passing many urine tests and complete their supervision periods without ever resuming drug use.
It is a hope that the correct understanding and wide use of voluntary urine tests will be promoted so that many parolees/probationers can benefit from the tests.