Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Illicit Drug Use, Acquiring Information On
Hilary James Liberty & Angela Taylor
Determining whether an individual is or is not using a specific drug is a key step in reducing the public health risks associated with illicit drug use; further, this determination can also have legal implications. There are three common ways of acquiring this information. The first method is to ask the person directly, that is, to elicit a self-report of his or her behavior. The second method is to perform biochemical analysis of bodily fluids or tissues. The third method is to ask a collateral (e.g., spouse or other relative, social worker, or probation officer) who may have knowledge. Among the advantages of self-reports are that they can provide estimates of illicit drug use over a very long time window (e.g., ‘Have you ever, in your life, used …’) that cannot be matched by biological measures, which provide only an assessment of a single recent point in time. Self-reports can ...