A pilot program that uses fingernail drug and alcohol testing is helping to spot drivers who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated who are continuing to drink or use drugs. Fingernail testing captures a person’s history of drug and alcohol use for the past three to six months.
The program, in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, is testing drivers who have been convicted of at least three DWI offenses, says Guida Brown of the Hope Council on Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, which assesses drivers convicted of impaired driving in the county. Drivers must successfully complete the yearlong program in order to maintain their driving privileges.
“We do a lot of assessment, but until now there’s been no teeth behind it – no ability to help people see they really have a problem – and help guide them in a way to stay abstinent,” says Brown. “With this test, when we say you can’t use drugs or alcohol for the one-year duration of the driver safety program, we can verify the results.”