Drug Testing in the Workplace

The use of drugs in the workplace can be a significant issue with regards to safety, with anyone under the influence of drugs being a hazard to both themselves and those around them.

Cannabis and cocaine are two of the most common illicit drugs detected in workplace screening, and for some this is not just a ‘weekend habit’. But it’s not just illegal drugs that can be a problem, and the UK Drug Driving legislation introduced in recent years recognises that a variety of prescription medication should also be taken into consideration.

Many prescribed drugs have an adverse effect on a person’s ability to judge speed or distance – and in some instances, the job is the cause of the medical issue requiring the medication!

Read our safety protocol for alcohol and drug testing during COVID-19

Hair, blood, saliva or urine?

When introducing Drug Testing into the Workplace, it is important to understand the difference between the different methods of testing available, and be able to work out what best suits your company requirements.

Ultimately this will come down to what information you are hoping to establish – ie historical use of drugs (for pre-employment screening, as an example) is best suited to hair or urine testing, whereas current impairment (ie for drivers or plant operators) would be more suited to blood or saliva screening.

In all of these the window of detection varies – from as little as a couple of minutes (in the case of blood and saliva testing) through to as long as 12 months (in the case of hair testing). As a company, are you making a decision on what the employee is under the influence of right now or passing judgement on a lifestyle choice outside of work?

Draeger DrugCheck App

3 minute video – urine vs. saliva

Suzannah Robin, our Operations Director, explains the differences between testing for drugs of abuse with saliva and urine. Which is better?

Cost versus Accuracy

Cost versus accuracy is also a decision to be made for most companies.  As with most things in life, the less you pay, the less reliable a device will be.  Low cost screening kits such as our DrugStop range are perfect for sending the message of zero tolerance, but in the event of an incident or reasonable suspicion, the Police grade Dräger DrugCheck 3000 kits offer a far more sensitive measurement process.  In any instance, a non-negative should be backed up with a Lab analysis to confirm precisely what is present.

Another factor to consider is accountability.  Drug testing involves both a person producing a sample AND a person collecting and interpreting the results – and in certain instances, one person may have an undue influence over another if the results are not what are wanted.  The Dräger DrugTest 5000 system offers full accountability by way of digital analysis – and removes the human error element that can affect results from drug screening.

Balancing low cost with accuracy and accountability is the main aim with any form of Drug Testing in the Workplace.  Our DrugStop Deterrent packages incorporate a balance of low cost screening with Police-grade test kits (with an app to generate, log and send results) – alongside Chain of Custody kits for final laboratory confirmation analysis.

DrugStop Deterrent Drug Testing Package

3 minute video – single use drug test kits

Suzannah Robin, our Operations Director, gives an introduction to the Draeger Drug Check 3000 and our DrugStop drug screening kits.