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Working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be extremely dangerous, both to the user and their coworkers. Random Drug Testing can be a helpful deterrent for reducing substance abuse in the workplace and identifying users that may not present obvious signs that a problem exists.

Implementing a random drug and alcohol program can help employers to reduce the frequency of incidents, promote a culture of safety in the workplace, and facilitate treatment for workers who may be suffering from substance abuse.

DIFFERENT TYPE OF TESTS

Lab-Based Urine

Testing urine in a controlled lab environment allows detection of the levels of multiple drugs within a single sample. Lab-based testing samples are securely packaged and sent directly to the lab with no results given at the time of testing.

Lab-Based Oral Fluid

Lab-based Oral Fluid Drug Testing can be completed solely or in addition to express testing. The 10 panel Oral Fluid Drug Test will identify the presence of the following drugs:

  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • THC (marijuana)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Methadone
  • Propoxyphene
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates

With Lab-Based testing, the Oral Fluid sample is sent to a SAMHSA-certified lab to be tested with standardized equipment that provides a legally defensible quantitative result. This will identify the drug level in the body and the final result can be reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO).

Please note that all Lab Based testing results can take up to 2-5 business days.

Breath Alcohol

Breath alcohol testing is done using a Breathalyzer. It detects the presence of ethanol, which is released with the carbon dioxide in each breath. Breathalyzers are mobile, so these tests can be completed on site.

How often is random testing completed?

An advantage of random testing is its unpredictability. Annually a percentage of the total pool will have been selected, which gives each employee an equal chance of selection with every random draw completed.

Understanding the Results

Typically, if an employee tests positive for a drug, it has been present in their system for less than the period of the drug’s half-life. However, the subject’s hydration level, the frequency of drug use, and how the drug was administered can all affect how long a drug’s presence is detectable in a biological sample.

Steps After a Positive Result

If a positive result occurs, a Medical Review Officer will contact the donor for further questioning. It is important that an employee undergoing urine drug testing complete an accurate history of all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal drug use prior to the time of the sample collection. Certain substances, over-the-counter, or prescription drugs may result in false positives due to cross-reactivity with other substances, although drug testing has evolved greatly over time to avoid this. The donor may be required to provide proof of a valid prescription if a positive result occurs.

Initial screening drugs tests may infrequently result in “false positive” results, although confirmatory lab-based testing greatly lessens the chances of a false positive—to the point of virtually eliminating the risk.

DIFFERENT TYPE OF TESTS

Why should I implement a Random Drug and Alcohol Program?

Random drug and alcohol testing may help to identify cases of substance abuse and, as a result, can help employers to:

  • Facilitate treatment for workers;
  • Improve workplace safety;
  • Reduce the frequency of incidents and Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims;
  • Decrease employer liability; and
  • Promote a culture of safety in the workplace.

Legal Implications

All employees have the right to a safe work environment. This right is protected by federal and provincial occupational health and safety legislation, which requires employers to take all reasonable precautions to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. Drug use and abuse of prescription drugs put your entire job site at risk, and random drug testing can be a helpful tool to identify substance abuse users and help keep your workforce ahead of risk.

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