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Fingernail Drug Test Keeps Offenders in Wisconsin Accountable for Duration of Program

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With all of today’s latest technology, it was only a matter of time before a fingernail drug test would officially take off.  It is being reported as a way to decipher whether drivers on the road are under the influence or not.  In Kenosha  County, Wisconsin, this is part of a new initiative to help prevent more DWI’s in the state. The fingernail drug test is able to trace back the previous three months for alcohol abuse and six months for drug abuse.

Fingernail Drug Test

How Is It Effective?

Fingernail testing can be beneficial for officials to convey a message to offenders.  When these offenders have gathered up three or more DWI charges, they are required to attend a specialized curriculum for one full year to regain approval for driving.  As part of the team of the Hope Council on Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, Guida Brown claimed that the new discovery of fingernail screenings can help his team mandate each offender’s year of sobriety without question.  This is a breakthrough when it comes to testing for substances in a person’s system.  Breathalyzers are not always effective, as a person can have a negative result just 12 hours after last ingestion.  Likewise, blood alcohol tests can only trace alcohol in someone for two or maybe three weeks.

Why Should It Be Done?

In 2012 over 10,000 people died from drunk driving accidents in the United States .  With this in mind, the new drug testing program was put in place for the safety of all drivers and to reduce the amount of drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  A study revealed that 59% of all people that underwent the fingernail drug test had alcohol in their system while 35% had drugs.  This meant that both either drank or abused drugs after having been arrested, showing that punishment does not solve the problem of impaired driving or abuse of substances.  As the war on drugs tends to bring up, addiction is not a moral dilemma but a disease that needs to be treated.

How Does It Work?

The fingernail drug test has an approximate cost of $100.  Offenders with a DWI that are involved in Kenosha’s program are required to pay for the test out of their own pockets.  They are required to be tested at least four times per year, in addition to their urine drug screenings that are done regularly every couple of days.  It appears the only downfall is that the test may read as negative if the offender has one or even a couple drinks a day.  It was made clear by an official that an offender would have to have had “at least six standard binges in a three-month window” in order for the test to show they drank alcohol.

Hair Follicle Drug Test

Drug screenings that are done by examining a strand of hair are more popular than the fingernail screenings.  Both are similar in testing, being that fingernails and hair are composed of keratin.  Traces proving abuse of drugs and/or alcohol remain present in segments of keratin that lay under the fingernail, naked to the eye.  However, since hair can be damaged by heat, styling products, and being colored, traces may be more difficult to detect.  Despite nails varying their length, the fingernail drug test is still able to pick up biomarkers of drugs and alcohol.

All in all, drugs tests are becoming more efficient by tracking how far back in length of time a person has truly abused drugs and/or alcohol.  This has proven to be an effective way at tightening strict punishments for offenders who have broken the law.  This new method may help prevent future DWI accidents as well as motivate a potential addict/alcoholic to get help for a drug or alcohol abuse problem that they may otherwise be in denial about.

Help raise awareness about the dangers of drinking/drugging and driving by sharing this information with others. Together we can make a difference.




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