DRUG TESTING Q & A   

Urine or Saliva?

 What is the best type of drug testing Urine, Saliva, Hair, Blood ?

The best method of drug testing is... "the best method for the specific objectives and environmental situation". We illustrate below a table that clarifies this question in more detail. 

BEST DRUG TESTING METHODS BY APPLICATION

Is urine testing invasive?

No, when Urine Drug testing is conducted by a trained professionals it is a simple collection procedure, no different than any other medical or clinical collection process. 

In Australia and New Zealand the Drug testing standard AS4308:2008 does not require the collector to observe the donor providing a urine sample. 

Professional organisations will not observe a drug tests unless there is evidence of an adulteration attempt by the donor, or if mandated such as Sports Athlete Testing.

A urine Drug Test is simple five step clinical process:

  1. An explanation of the drug testing procedure and requirements
  2. Completion of the chain of custody document including an identity check 
  3. Completion of a medication and consent statement
  4. Sample collection
  5. A Breath Alcohol Test and results provided to the donor

When conducted by certificated medical professionals the process is professional, non invasive and takes just five to ten minutes to complete.

IS A DRUG TEST DETECTING IMPAIRMENT?

No, Impairment is not able to be measured in an environment outside of a Laboratory.The wording "under the influence of" and "impaired by" should be removed from Workplace Drug & Alcohol Policy & Procedure documents. 

Lets look at impairment:

  1. A 50kg female who has not drunk alcohol before is tested. She has a reading of 0.05BAC, her body contains 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. She is cognitively impaired and unable to walk in a straight line, write her name or talk coherently.
  2. A 120kg Male who has been drinkling alcohol heavily for the past ten years is tested with a reading of 0.05BAC, his body contains 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (the same as the girl) .  He is not cognitively effected, he can walk in a straight line, write his name and talk coherently. 
Both people have the same Alcohol level, one is significantly impaired the other is outwardly unimpaired. 

The same applies to drug users, the more severe the the drug addiction the greater the dose to obtain the same physiological impact.

Factors that impact impairment include physical size, metabolic rate, stress and environmental factors, diet and recency of food intake, physiological differences, age, sex and past substance history.

Because of this, drug and alcohol limits are set by Government bodies with Laws based on safe levels. 

THE MARIJUANA DEBATE

Studies show that employees who use marijuana have 75% more absenteeism, 55% more industrial accidents and 85% more workplace injuries than other employees. In fact, 40% of workplace fatalities are due to substance abuse. 

Marijuana use affects motor coordination, short-term memory, alters judgement, and in high doses can cause paranoia and psychosis. The workplace is negatively impacted by drug use when safety protocols become jeopardized and machinery or equipment is used improperly. Often the small business owner is the chief victim when costs associated with these risks put their life’s work in jeopardy. 
 
While THC is absorbed by the body’s fatty tissues (including the brain), detectable THC in a drug screen indicates that normal functions are compromised.  

Every employer has the right to expect work readiness and to enforce all safety standards in the interest of public health and safety.  

CAN A PERSON BE DISMISSED THE FIRST TIME THEY FAIL A WORKPLACE DRUG TEST?

There is no simple answer to this question however we endevour to shed light on the factors that might impact the level of disciplinery actcion taken when an employee fails a Drug or Alcohol test. The following impacts employers decision making:

  • The organisations polices and procedures
  • The employees past misconduct history (ie on a final warning)
  • If the drug test was the result of a serious incident
  • If the employees role is a high risk or high security role
  • Precedent that has been set in the past
  • Recent legal rulings 
Every instance is assessed on it's own merrits. In most instances however, a person will be given one or more chances to return back to work after passing a return to work drug test or participating in an EAP or Rehab program.

WHAT IS THE COST OF DRUG TESTING?

The cost of drug testing depends on many factors. Brassets generally impliment a management program that suits an organisations budget with the aim of reducing substance misuse, maintaining a safe workplace & building a positive workplace culture.

The most critical factor is to stop employing illicit drug users, then it is simply a matter of managing the employee group and providing assistance when members of the employee group step outside of the orgaisations limits of accptable behaviour.


 Request a quote for drug testing or program pricing 


What about medication?

Ocasionally medication can show up in workplace drug testing. When policy and procedure is developed it covers this topic in detail ensuring:

  • No employee is disadvantaged as a result of medication use
  • Employees medication details are kept strictly confidential.
  • Employees with medications that show up are treated with respect and TOTAL CONFIDENTIALITY
  • Medication that could pose a safety risk in the employees role are dealt with by Doctors
Brassets can maintain a medication register for organisations that have high risk roles ensuring a confidential 3rd party medication register identifying medical risk and managing that risk.


WHO GETS THE DRUG TESTING RESULTS?

Drug test results are provided to employers in a Statement of Result document. The information contained in the Statement of Result is:

Date & times of Drug Testing
Names of those tested
Drugs and Substances tested for
Drug test results ie Positive, Negative, Pending Laboratory analysis etc
Current status ie Returned to Work, Suspended, commenced EAP program etc

During the drug testing process we work with management to ensure minimal disruption


WHATS THE MOST ACCURATE DRUG TESTING METHOD?

Brassets conducted thousands of drug & alcohol tests during the 2016 calender year. Our drug testing includes workplaces, individuals and Govenment. The tests results are spread across many states and territories from Darwin to Perth, Cairns to Melbourne. The most notable factor in 2016 was the largest differences in Hard Drug results, Methamphetamine and Cocaine results. The evidence clearly points to high levels of adulteration of both Urine and Saliva testing methods within the Cocaine and Amphetamines drug classes. 


BRASSETS 2016 LABORATORY CONFIRMED DRUG TEST RESULTS



WHAT DRUGS ARE TESTED FOR?

Laboratory

Brassets can provide a comprehensive panel of drug classes and substances that can be tested. Often within the normal drug testing regime there are random Synthetic Cannabinoid tests, Steroid and Stimulent tests and can include a wide range of drug and illicit substances. 

WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Cannabis  is no different from any drug substance. Alcohol is legal however you cannot turn up to work with a level exceeding the allowable safe level. The same applies in countries that have legalised cannabis use. 

Clinical trials are underway with "Medical Cannabis" . 

Cannabis Oil - this is extracted from the Cannabis plant and has the THC (Psychoactive component) removed from it. It is not hallucinogenic and should undergo normal clinical testing processes the same as any drug before becoming available for use on humans.
The use of Cannabis Oil appears to have tremendous benefits for some medical conditions & should not show up in a standard Drug Test.
Allowing consumption of Marijuana such as smoking it under the guise of medical use is fraught with risk. The strength of Marijuana today is up to 20 times stronger than it was in the 1980's. Marijuana use is now a causational factor in emergency facilities assisting people with psychological conditions including, Schizophrenia, Depression & Psychosis directly related to Marijuana use.

Even in countries where Marijuana use is legal, workplaces are supported legally in testing for THC and taking action to ensure a safe workplace the same as with alcohol.