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Workplace drug testing: Evidence and issues

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Workplace drug testing: Evidence and issues Ken Pidd National Centre for Education & Training on Addiction (NCETA) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Workplace drug testing: Evidence and issues


1
Workplace drug testingEvidence and issues
Ken Pidd National Centre for Education Training
on Addiction (NCETA)

2
  1. Alcohol, drugs the workplace putting it into a
    safety context
  2. Workplace drug testing as a response to safety
    risk

3
Workforce workplace use
  • Workforce use
  • Overall use
  • Impact on workplace safety indirect dependent
    on other factors (fatigue, hangover, health
    outcomes, addiction)
  • Workplace use
  • Use at work/work under the influence
  • Impact on workplace safety directly associated
    with use (intoxication/impairment)

4
  • Alcohol, drugs the workplace
  • putting it into a safety context

5
Workforce alcohol use by industry
drinking weekly (or more often) at risk levels
6
Workforce drug use by industry
of workers using drugs (last 12 months)
7
Construction workforce use in context
YES
YES
Drug use
Risky alcohol use
8
Construction workforce use in context
Risky alcohol use
Drug use
9
Workplace use
Alcohol use at work
10
Workplace use
Drug use at work
11
Construction workplace use in context
Work under the influence
12
Construction workplace use in context
Work under the influence
13
Alcohol drug related accidents
  • Up to 15 of all workplace injuries/accidents may
    be related to alcohol or drug use
  • At least 85 of injuries are not
  • Other factors associated with workplace injuries
  • Unsafe work conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Unsafe equipment
  • Poor/no training

14
2. Workplace drug testing as a response to
safety risk
15
Types of workplace tests
  • Breath analysis (use increasing)
  • Urinalysis (most common)
  • Saliva (growing popularity potential)

16
Breath Testing
  • Advantages
  • Onsite test that can reliably indicate alcohol
    intoxication/impairment
  • Non-intrusive
  • Wide acceptance
  • Disadvantages
  • Can only detect alcohol use
  • Requires constant calibration (can be affected by
    paint solvents)
  • Cannot detect hangover effects

17
Urinalysis
  • Advantages
  • In-expensive (test)
  • Fully developed methodology
  • Fewer sample storage issues
  • Disadvantages
  • Collection can be expensive time consuming
  • Cannot detect impairment/intoxication
  • Cannot detect hangover effects
  • Long window of detection (cannabis)ay miss

18
Saliva testing
  • Advantages
  • Relatively non-intrusive
  • Can detect recent use
  • Difficult to adulterate sample
  • Disadvantages
  • Can be difficult to collect sufficient fluid
  • Low reliability (cannabis)
  • Cannot detect intoxication/impairment
  • Cannot detect hangover effects
  • Sample can deteriorate at room temp

19
Methods of testing
  • On-site screen (initial test)
  • Laboratory analysis (confirmation of positives)

20
On-site drug screening
  • Advantages
  • Relatively inexpensive (compared to lab testing)
  • Quick cost effective initial screen
  • Easy to administer
  • Disadvantages
  • Cannot distinguish between prescribed drug use
    illicit drug use
  • On-site tests have a much lower level of accuracy
    reliability than lab testing
  • Subject to user error

21
Laboratory drug analysis
  • Advantages
  • Much more reliable accurate than on-site tests
  • Can detect a much wider range of drugs
  • Can detect both the level of drug/drug metabolite
    present
  • but test itself cannot determine
    intoxication/impairment, amount use or pattern of
    use

22
Laboratory drug analysis
  • Disadvantages
  • Can be expensive time consuming
  • Cannot distinguish between legitimate
    prescription drug use and illegitimate use
    without donors medical background
  • As with on-site tests, some prescribed drugs/food
    stuffs can produce false positives
  • As with on-site tests, subject to human error

23
Testing programs
Pre-employment Post accident/incident Random Fo
r cause
24
Pre-employment
  • Advantages
  • Cost effective method of screening out drug users
  • Disadvantages
  • Can deter skilled capable workers from applying
  • Can screen in some drug users screen out some
    non-drug users
  • Limited efficacy
  • Rationale based on false assumptions

25
Post accident/incident
  • Advantages
  • Allows collection of statistics on potential
    drug-related incidents
  • Disadvantages
  • Limited evidence of causal role
  • May lead to under reporting of minor accidents
    near misses
  • May lead to delay in treatment seeking
  • Potential to jeopardise no fault workers
    compensation schemes

(accident/near miss)
26
Random
  • Advantages
  • Possibly most effective method of deterring use
  • Disadvantages
  • Receives least support from employees
  • Most open to employer abuse
  • Fosters culture of mistrust

27
For cause
  • Advantages
  • Only applied to individuals suspected of drug
    use/impairment
  • Disadvantages
  • Can be used to victimise employee
  • Subjective application

28
The efficacy of testing
  • Deterrence effect?
  • Reduces prevalence of injuries/accidents?
  • Improves safety?
  • Cost effective?

29
Main problems with workplace testing
  • A test can only determine past drug use
  • It cannot determine
  • the degree of impairment/intoxication
  • except alcohol breath analysis
  • the amount used or the time of use
  • how it was administered
  • If the person is a chronic/casual user or an
    addict
  • If the drug was prescribed

30
  • Testing may mask the true extent of risk
  • Underreporting of accidents near misses
  • Avoidance
  • Change in pattern of use, masking agents, sample
    substitution
  • Testing may contribute to the risk
  • Displacement to more dangerous - but less
    detectable - drug use (ice/speed, synthetics)

31
Australian standards
  • AS 4760 2006
  • Procedures for specimen collection the
    detection quantitation of drugs in oral fluid
  • AS/NZS 4308 2001
  • Procedures for the collection, detection
    quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine
  • Problems
  • Voluntary
  • Mainly apply to laboratory, not on-site testing

32
Other issues
  • Lack of industry regulation
  • Lack of relevant legislation
  • Limited understanding of testing
  • May divert resources away from more effective
    strategies
  • Focus on individual worker
  • Employer control/intrusion

33
Thank you
34
  • Consultancy Advice on
  • Workplace AOD policies
  • Workplace AOD intervention strategies
  • Tailored employee awareness education sessions
  • Tailored supervisor OHS staff training programs
  • Evaluation of education, training intervention
    strategies

www.nceta.flinders.edu.au
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