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Types of Employment Drug Testing

The most common type of testing program is pre-employment. Courts have consistently upheld the legality of requiring a pre-employment drug test as a condition of employment. If a firm plans to test current employees, the employer should have policies and procedures in place, including supervisorial training and steps to take if there is a positive test.

Post-employment testing can include random testing (for safety-sensitive positions), individualized suspicion testing, post-accident testing, and testing that is legally required in certain industries, such as Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements for truck drivers.

The first point for consideration for drug testing is the type of specimen to be collected for testing. The most common type of specimen is urine, followed closely by hair, saliva and breath testing; blood testing is seldom used for pre or post employment testing, except in cases of accidents or court order.

The second point for consideration is place of collection for employers is usually limited to at the employers place of business or off site at a designated collection point such as a laboratory, doctors office or hospital

The traditional remote site urine drug testing is done in a local lab such as Quest or Labcorp. Most employers utilize a standard five-panel test of "street drugs," consisting of marijuana (THC), cocaine, PCP, opiates (such as codeine and morphine) and amphetamines (including methamphetamine). Some employers use a 10-panel test, which includes prescription drugs that are legal to possess and use; employers can also test for blood alcohol levels. Most employers require an applicant to submit to the urine drug test within a specific period of time, so that a drug user does not wait until the drugs leave the system. Laboratories and collection sites also have methods to determine if the applicant has attempted to alter the test sample by drinking excessive water, contaminating the sample, or by using some sort of product that is sold in the hope it will mask drug use. Results are then sent to the employer usually within 24 hours if test is negative. If the test is positive the specimen is rechecked and given to a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for processing, which can add 2-4 days being reported.

Urine Testing on-site

The second type of urine drug testing is On-Site Drug testing. Instead of sending the applicant to a facility, we send a Drug Test Technician (DTT) to your site to perform the test. The process is the same, only the collection technique is different.

The real advantage of this type of testing is:

For the employer,
    a) Employee does not have to leave company job-site
    b) Itís a simple process with a lower total cost
    c) Job applicants and employees can go to work immediately
For the employee,
    a) Confidence among employees for the safety of the workplace
    b) Increased morale
    c) Productivity increases

Employer Testing/Point of Care

Point of care drug testing is when the employer utilizes a small kit to test the employee for the presence of drugs or alcohol at the place of business, jobsite or wherever the employee happens to be at the time. These kits provide fast and accurate results. Many employers find this a cost effective solution to their testing needs / requirements. With POC testing, we supply a device that screens for drugs of abuse and reports the results right on the spot within 10-15 minutes. These kits may not meet the requirements of certain state and federal requirements. We always recommend that if the results are positive, 1) the sample may be sent to the laboratory for confirmation or 2) the employee be brought to the nearest laboratory site with a chain of custody form for a confirmation test.

When results are positive

Testing labs have extensive procedures to reconfirm a positive test before reporting it to an employer. Most drug testing programs use the services of an independent physician called a medical review officer to review all test results. In the case of a positive result, the officer will normally contact the applicant to determine if there is a medical explanation. If the positive test is confirmed, the job applicant can usually pay for a retesting of the sample at a laboratory of their choice. Urine samples for all positive tests are retained for that purpose. Merely taking a new test is not helpful since the drugs may have left the person's system. Certified laboratories will stand behind their results and make expert witnesses available. All drug-testing results should be maintained on a confidential basis.

The most common type of testing program is pre-employment. Courts have consistently upheld the legality of requiring a pre-employment drug test as a condition of employment. If a firm plans to test current employees, the employer should have policies and procedures in place, including supervisorial training and steps to take if there is a positive test.

Post-employment testing can include random testing (for safety-sensitive positions), individualized suspicion testing, post-accident testing, and testing that is legally required in certain industries, such as Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements for truck drivers.


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