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Drug Testing: Increase In Demand And Delivery

According to national statistics 70 percent of drug abusers hold jobs, roughly 9.4 million Americans; drug testing has become an increasingly important workplace issue.

The National Institute on Drug Addiction said drug users in the workplace tend to be less productive, absent more and cause accidents at the workplace – often resulting in workers’ compensation claims. Employees indulging in drug use are costing businesses $81 billion a year in lost productivity; and the American Council on Drug Education found:

  • they are 10 times more likely to miss work than those who are clean and sober;
  • 3.6 times more likely to be involved in on-the-job accidents;
  • 5 times more likely to file a workman’s compensation claim;
  • 33 percent less productive; and
  • responsible for 40 percent of industrial fatalities.

Increase In Demand

TestCountry.com, an online company providing testing and screening services for workplaces, reported a 22 percent increase in March 2010’s pre-employment drug testing requests compared to March 2009’s.

"This is the first double-digit increase we’ve seen in more than 18 months. Perhaps it means that companies are once again looking to hire more people. The increase has been across different industries and not necessarily limited to construction or retail industries that usually creates seasonal employment activities," said Serhat Pala, president of TestCountry.com.

Mobile Testing

Besides an increase in requests for testing services, the services are changing and coming to the workplace.

Due to suspicion over the credibility of a suspected drug user employee, Joe Strom founded USA Mobile Drug Testing, a franchise that sends a credentialed drug tester to the workplace to collect and test the sample.

"If a worker’s urine tests positive on the spot, the sample is packaged and sent to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) certified laboratory and results are sent to a doctor, called a Medical Review Officer (MRO)," said Strom.

"Once the doctor concludes the sample is either negative or positive due to illegal use, and after apersonal phone conversation with the employee, the employer is notified," he continued.

Strom said he began the entrepreneurship after the 2007 U.S. Government Accountability Office found, through an undercover investigation of 24 Department of Transportation drug testing venues, that there were vulnerabilities in the process of drug testing in favor of the suspected employee.

The study found:

  • a drug user could send someone to take a drug test in his or her place using a fake ID.
  • 22 of the 24 sites did not sufficiently follow protocol: 75 percent of the urine collection sites failed to restrict access to items that could be used to adulterate or dilute the specimen – hand solvents that were in the bathroom at the same time as collection.
  • the investigators used drug masking products and they all went undetected by the drug screening labs.

"Our operators are trained to become drug-free consultants in the workplace, they train supervisors how to spot drug and alcohol signs and symptoms at work ... Companies also get lower workman’s comp rates for providing random, accurate drug testing," said Strom.

Addresses: American Council for Drug Education, 50 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; (718) 222-6641, www.acde.org. Global Business Support Systems Inc., DBA TestCountry, 6310 Nancy Ridge Dr., Suite 103, San Diego, CA 92121; (858) 784-6904, www.testcountry.com. USA Mobile Drug Testing LLC, 735 Arlington Ave. N., Suite 310, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; (800) 851-2021, www.usamobiledrugtesting.com.


© 2011 Health Resources Publishing