Davidson County Outsources Drug Testing System - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Davidson County Outsources Drug Testing System

Posted: Updated:

by Chris Conte

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Citing growing budget concerns and a system that is increasingly overwhelmed with cases, the Davidson County Probation Office has started using a private company to conduct all of their drug tests.

However, some defense attorney's and those on probation said the new system, implemented on July 29, is unfairly targeting the poor or anyone who has limited access to transportation.

"My biggest concern and I think it's inevitable is that if you're on probation and you don't have a lot of money you're gonna end up in jail just because you can't afford the drug test," explained attorney Emily Todoran.

Todoran's clients now have to call in to the drug testing company seven days a week at 6 a.m. to see if they've been selected that day to participate in a drug test. Todoran said even her clients who did not commit a drug-related offense are tested.

"If you're living pay check to pay check and you have a budget, all of sudden having an extra $50 to $100 a week going out for these drug tests it's gonna be a huge financial strain on people," she added.

The company now responsible for testing every person on probation in the county is Avertest, a Virginia based drug testing company with a new facility located on Deadrick Street in Nashville.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with a number of people currently on probation who are worried they'll lose their job because of all the time they have to take off from work to get a drug test.

"I understand that I've done wrong, but to have to do this and lose my job... how am I supposed to do right, pay what I'm supposed to pay and get it behind me? I can't. Every time I have to come up here (to get tested) it gets me a little closer to getting me fired," said 21-year-old William Owens who is currently on probation.

According to county documents all probationers are required to pay $10 - $25 each time they have to get a test. If they can't pay, they'll be turned away and according to the county's probation supervision conditions someone who misses a drug test is considered as testing positive for drugs, meaning they could possibly be put back in jail because they simply couldn't afford to pay for the test.

"A lot of people are going to end up in jail, simply because they cannot afford these drug tests. It's wrong," add attorney Todoran.

No one from the Davidson County Probation office was available to comment on Monday.

Officials from Avertest said their system is incredibly effective and they have never had to turn anyone away from a drug test who couldn't pay. 

Email: cconte@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisConte
Twitter: Twitter.com/ChrisConte

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.