A drug test is commonly a technical examination to determine the presence or absence of specified drugs or their metabolized traces. According to the Chicago land Chamber of Commerce, “Over 70% of all illicit drug users are employed. Small and medium-sized firms employ 80% of the U.S workforce where drug testing policies & programs are not in place. Absenteeism, increased health care costs and decreased productivity due to alcohol and other substance abuse cost a company $1,000 per employee per year.” It gives the importance of drug testing at work place.
Primarily there are five methods of drug testing. Those are
- Urine drug testing: Urine drug test is the most common, inexpensive, simple and easy to administer. Urine drug tests are reliable and can be tested individually and at other places.
- Blood drug testing: Blood testing is one of the most accurate drug testing but intrusive and expensive.
- Hair drug testing: When used in right time hair testing gives more accurate results and it is most expensive drug testing.
- Saliva drug testing: Oral drug testing is the simplest form of drug testing, which is increasingly used, as it is the least intrusive test procedure.
- Sweat drug testing: Sweat tests are patches attached to the skin to collect sweat over a long period of time (10–14 days).
Drug testing, and particularly random drug testing is not allowed in every state in the United States. There are certain guidelines mentioned by The Federal Drug-Free Work Place Act of 1988Following guidelines give the minimum requirements.
- Publish a policy statement prohibiting unlawful use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances in the workplace;
- Notify employees of said prohibition and the penalty for violating it;
- Establish a drug-free awareness program;
- Provide employees engaged in a contract with a copy of the policy statement;
- Notify employees that compliance with the policy statement is a condition of employment;
- Require (in writing in your policy) employees to notify the employer within five
- Days if they are convicted of a criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace;
- Make a good-faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace through these provisions.
In 2004 SAMHSA proposed a new rule that would allow federal agencies to use sweat, saliva and hair in federal drug testing programs that now only test urine. The proposal would also allow selected specimen testing at the time and place it is collected.
Drug testing has an important role in safety-critical and other occupations where the public is entitled to expect the highest standards of safety and probity. In order to make the workforce free from drug use at work places several new methods are in line under the rules proposed by SAMHSA that are unintrusive, inescapable and yield accurate results.