Drug testing is generally a process that entails an analysis of fluid samples such as urine, saliva or blood from the body to find out if they have any traces of particular drugs. Drug abuse is a major predicament in the place of work and causes impaired efficiency by employees. Other problems associated with substance abuse include occurrence of accidents and injuries, security violations, theft and reduced working morale of employees. Some policies associated with substance abuse in work places have been adopted in addition to a diverse drug screening, management, and treatment programs. The policies safeguard the use of different methods for drug testing including urinalysis, blood analysis, and saliva analysis and sweat tests (Tunnell, 2004).
Although there has been a major attention on the logistics and legal aspects of drug abuse testing, the ethical aspects regularly get little consideration. Experts suggest that an efficient drug testing program such as mandatory or voluntary should identify drug users while safeguarding the rights and ethical accountabilities of the physicians, employers and employees. Mandatory screening programs are compulsory and are conducted to all employees while voluntary programs are based on free will by the participants. Suitable constraints should be looked into to ethically test workers and prospective workers for the availability of drugs in their bodies. A good screening program should include some features that enhance its suitability in testing for drugs (Jenkins, 2001).
First, the company should have a policy and procedure regarding drug abuse and screening should be done and be applied without prejudice. The company should document the necessity of the screening program for the company and the employees. The prospective workers should be made aware of the company’s policy on drugs and its implications to their employment. The tests should be carried out impartially to all participants, the testing method and the type of program, if voluntary or mandatory should apply to all participants (Tunnell, 2004).
The company should consult a qualified physician to supervise the collection, handling and analysis of the samples. The whole process should observe stringent legal, ethical and technical requirements. The physician should be able to advice on matters concerning the suitability of different testing methods for the specific environment. The participants should be counseled on the results of the screening; this king of discussion should be clearly defined and documented (Jenkins, 2001).
A number of different methods of testing have been applied in the working places. Some methods are suitable in specific testing environments while others are considered very controversial. For instance, urinalysis is regarded as highly controversial in its inability to detect drugs used within the latest six to eight hours. According to experts, the results can easily be contaminated. The participants can also distort the results by taking large amounts of water, coffee and other substances. Physicians agree that a hair examination is rather precise and can mark out forbidden agents that have been consumed since the most recent haircut. Some people can compromise the results by shaving their scalps (Donohoe, 2005).
Salivaor an oral fluid based test is applied to identify presence of drugs consumed within a few days in substances taken through the mouth. The test can be done on site and its degree of accurateness is frequently comparable with that of urinalysis. The drug screen is used especially in post accidental circumstances. Sweat screen is frequently applied in parole departments or as a juvenile protective method. Sweat drug screen is outdated with because it does not detect abuse of many contemporary drugs. A blood test is considered a persistent type of drug testing by most physicians. The method can detect presence of drugs with much precision and is applied to test for many synthetic modern agents (Jenkins, 2001).