Facilitating a Drug-Free Workplace
By Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics
Learn how A Practical Guide to Workplace Drug Testing can help your company win the battle of drug abuse in the workplace. If you’re responsible for the drug testing of job candidates and employees at your organization, your efforts have a significant impact on everyone around you. By facilitating a drug-free workplace, you help:
Because of the complexity and time involved in traditional drug testing methodology, it’s likely you have considered workplace drug testing as an alternative.
With drug and alcohol testing kits available for purchase online, conducting workplace drug testing is a viable and affordable alternative. It not only provides convenience and cost-effectiveness to the organization, but it also makes the process of drug screening less intimidating for the individuals getting tested.
Before Starting a Workplace Drug Testing Program
Of course, there’s a lot to consider before doing onsite drug testing. Two things to tackle before you drug test include:
1. Research all applicable laws to ensure you comply with them.
Drug testing laws vary from state to state, so it’s critical to educate yourself. Employers are usually legally allowed to test employees for drugs, but some states restrict the random testing of employees that don’t work in positions that have safety ramifications. Also, some states may require that before terminating employees who fail drug tests, employers must offer employee assistance program (EAP) services that provide counseling to employees and give them a second chance via a subsequent drug test within a specified time frame.
Some businesses must also abide by the rules set forth by the federal agencies that regulate their industries. Laws created to protect workers’ rights may restrict drug testing, too. Several to be aware of include:
2. Establish a written drug-free workplace and drug-testing policy.
This is essential so that job candidates and employees know your company’s rules and what to expect regarding drug testing. Consider consulting an attorney and/or human resources professional to assist you in developing and reviewing your policy. You’ll want to be sure it complies with all employment, anti-discrimination, and other laws.
According to DATIA (the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association), private employers that are not subject to federal drug testing rules and regulations have some flexibility in how they implement drug testing in their organizations. As mentioned above, companies in industries regulated by federal agencies must follow the rules of those agencies and the standardized drug testing procedures developed by SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
Even if your company isn’t required to follow the SAMHSA guidelines, complying with them may help avoid legal issues. SAMHSA has its mandatory guidelines for workplace drug testing available through its website.
When to Do Onsite Drug Testing
Companies carry out drug testing under a variety of circumstances including:
Sometimes, employers conduct drug testing in other situations, as well. For instance, some may opt to do follow-up testing after an employee returns to work after an illness or having completed a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program successfully.
What Substances Should You Test For?
Organizations that follow the SAMHSA guidelines test for five illicit drugs:
Most private employers may test for any number of substances, including drugs legitimately taken on a prescription basis. However, typically private companies test for selected “panels” of substances.
Drug Panel Tests
Panel tests detect for multiple drugs using a single sample. Some of the most frequently used panels used in testing include:
8-Panel Test: A typical 8-panel test will include:
10-Panel Test: A typical 10-Panel includes testing for methadone and propoxyphene in addition to all of the substance in the 8-Panel Test.
Testing of Additional Substances
Employers might also consider using more extensive panel test kits that detect anabolic steroids, ecstasy, hallucinogens, inhalants, and hydrocodone (such as oxycodone and Vicodin).
What are Drug Screening Cut-off Levels?
Specimens Used in Drug Testing
Urine Drug Tests
Urine is the most commonly used specimen for detecting illicit drugs. The results of urine tests indicate the presence or absence of drug metabolites in an individual’s urine sample. A person whose urine test has a positive result might not be under the influence of a drug at the time of testing. A positive result means the test detected drug residues, which remain in the body for a period of time after drug use. Urine tests aren’t usually helpful for identifying alcohol because alcohol passes through the body quickly.
Saliva Drug Tests
Another specimen used to detect drugs and alcohol is saliva. Testing is done by swabbing the inner cheek to collect the oral fluid. Note that drugs do not remain in saliva as long as they do in urine, so positive results may indicate very recent use and possible impairment.
This type of test is used for determining an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood. The individual blows into a device and the test returns a result, which indicates the person’s BAC at the time of the test. In all states, the legal BAC limit for driving is set at 0.08. Companies regulated by the DOT must enforce certain employee restrictions according to various BAC levels.
Blood Drug Tests
Blood tests precisely measure the number of drugs and alcohol in a person’s system when a sample is drawn. Note that the window of opportunity for detecting drugs via blood sample is more short-lived than with urine tests. Most drugs pass through blood quickly before they are deposited in the person’s urine.
Hair Follicle Drug Tests
Drug testing using hair follicles as specimens can detect drug use as far back as 90 days. As with urine testing, hair testing picks up past drug use, not present impairment—and it is not effective for detecting alcohol.
Sweat Patch Drug Tests
Although not commonly used in the workplace, sweat patch drug tests exist, too. Testing consists of putting an adhesive test patch (which looks like a large bandage) on the individual’s skin for a certain amount of time.
uVera Diagnostics Options for Workplace Drug Testing
Drug test administrators at businesses of all sizes and in all industries use uVera Diagnostics drug test kits to ensure their testing process is accurate, convenient, respectful, and affordable.
As you’re looking for drug test kits to cover your organization’s needs, consider our selection of urine and saliva drug tests, which are FDA cleared, CLIA waived, set to SAMHSA cut-off levels, and 99 percent accurate.
Our most popular workplace drug test kits include:
CR3™ Drug Test Cup
With a unique design that eliminates the mess that other drug test cups on the market are known for, our patented CR3 Drug Test Cup makes the process easier for drug testing administrators. It has a large opening, slanted top (much more convenient for female test subjects), and snap-shut lid. Because it is a keyless split-sample cup, all you need to do is twist the bottom to start the test. You have the results in approximately 5 minutes, and a residual sample is available for GC/MS confirmation if necessary.
Test options include: 5 panel, 6 panel, 10 panel, 12 panel, 14 panel.
Versions that detect if an individual used an adulterant to alter test results are available, as well.
Saliva Drug Test
Another convenient choice for drug test administrators is our saliva drug test. It provides all-in-one convenience for detecting recent ingestion of drugs. This oral fluids test is for forensic use only and makes an ideal solution for organizations that work in the criminal justice system.
Test panel options include:
Where To Turn for More Information
To learn more about drug testing in the workplace, consider visiting the DATIA (Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association) and the SAMHSA websites. Both have a great deal of information and links to helpful resources.
For more information about uVera Diagnostics’ innovative drug testing kits, visit our online store or contact us. Call 1-866-242-5930
Posted by Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics and Co-designer and Developer of the CR3 split-sample drug test cup. Bill has 27 years in sales management and marketing and is a 12 year veteran of the drug testing industry. As a parent and co-worker, Bill’s energy is focused on drug testing on every level. Addiction is all around us in alcohol, prescriptions and street drugs, and that is a constant reminder a drug free society starts with each and every one of us.
This information is meant for awareness and education purposes only. Any medical or life saving advice should come from experts. Always consult with your physician about any and all drugs. If it is an emergency, dial 911 or call emergency services.