Monday, September 30, 2013

Pharma Parties and the Youth

Throughout the civilized world, the youth of our nations have found a new kind of party. So called “Pharma parties” are events where each participant in the party brings their household stash of legal drugs. Often, the next step is to put all of the drugs into one big pot or hat or something and for everyone to draw a random drug, which will take them into a different world, psychologically.
Because legal drugs are written by prescription for specific people or they are standard over the counter pharmaceuticals are meant for pain relief or decongestants, each individual body will react differently…and randomly…to each drug that is brought to the pharma party.
When the youth of our nation has made a mockery of legal drugs, you can only imagine what they think of illicit drugs. Perhaps low-impact illicit substances are not effective in their minds anymore. Instead, they are looking for ways to increase their highs and lows when they take drugs. They are looking for other chemical means to find adventure. Onsite drug and alcohol testing is a testament to how many young adults have grown up from this culture and continued to abuse substances. Workplace drug testing laws protect high hazard industries, but not really anything else. Fortunately, businesses can just choose to begin utilising drug screening, and this dramatically reduces the number of workplace incidents, accidents, and fatalities which are connected to workers abusing illicit substances.
The jobsite should be safe and enjoyable. The workplace should have a minimum amount of reassurance that each individual employee is not in danger from the behavior or mental stability of his or her coworkers. What started out as these “pharma parties’ has concluded in a rather nasty set of circumstances in the workplace, where businesses really must use workplace drug testing just to make sure that their employees are safe and protected from each other and from their subordinates and superiors. The whole affair can become quite messy and dangerous, otherwise.
Mediscreen brings onsite drug & alcohol testing right to your place of business. This is a regular and standard treatment of this subject which you can use over and over, with full confidence that your employees are being provided for as well as possible.
This article has been taken from :

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mediscreen and Onsite Testing Quality

Onsite testing is one of the conveniences that modern drug screening can bring to your business place. We here at Mediscreen strive to make the experience a pleasant one for you. The fact that it also saves you time and money are additional bonuses. Of course, we don’t want to take any of this for granted. Our experts are always ready to help you set up a good drug screening program for yourself. They know what they are doing, and many businesses rely upon our expertise to make sure that their employees are effectively screened. Workplace drug testing is powerful in this respect, because it delivers scientific, unbiased results. Drug testing equipment is had through our sister company, CMM Technology, but we are the ones who actually bring onsite drug and alcohol screening to your workplace. Through Mediscreen, you can save time involved and money for overhead costs for wholly laboratory work. With us, you are paying for the service and for any additional laboratory testing which may be required, but this only on an individual basis.
As far as protecting the privacy of your employees, that is in your hands, not ours. Employee records are stored onsite, that means your place of business, and you have control over how long you store them, what to keep in their records, and how and where you store them. This gives you unprecedented control over the safety and well being of your workers, rather than giving this privacy over to us. We merely seek to deliver high quality and accurate results. Thanks to Mediscreen, though, drug and alcohol testing is better than ever. We bring you what no one else can bring you: fast, high quality results right in your place of business. Who could ask for anything more? At Mediscreen, we bring it to you, we help you set up your program with us, whatever it might be, and we deliver quality results each and every time. Accuracy is the name of the game. When you are looking to implement regular onsite drug & alcohol testing, be sure to remember Mediscreen.

This article has been taken from :

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Marijuana, Man

Marijuana is the most common and most easy to get drug on the market today. Because its affect on the human body is downplayed by everyone, from adults to pre-teen kids, the vast majority of civilized society doesn’t consider it to be that dangerous or that much to worry about. Drug and alcohol testing, of course, doesn’t agree with this approach, but that doesn’t mean that workers don’t try to get away with what they can as often as they can. This is due to the lack of seriousness given to “weed,” as many call it.
Marijuana, Mary Jane and Weed, as the names call it is a very addictive substance because, like alcohol, it takes the edge off of stress. Like any drug it provides an escape for people who do not want to deal with their lives. Sometimes, if an employee tests positive during drug and alcohol testing, it is due to a temporary situation in their lives which may not return in the form of substance abuse. In this case, having a multiple strike company policy is particularly beneficial to employees. However, sometimes, taking the edge off becomes a lifestyle, and marijuana is used as a “gateway drug” to harder stuff, because soon our bodies become adjusted to the new norm created by abusing marijuana all the time. In this case, Mary Jane has taken another victim, so to speak, and such behavior will show up more than once during drug and alcohol testing.
Businesses have to be careful about who they allow into their workforce. In many cases, companies do not have a standard system for employee evaluation that is as effective as standard workplace drug testing and alcohol testing. In many cases, this is simply due to ignorance about the matter in which they stand. Employees cannot be predicted or read in any other way than through drug screening, and Mediscreen makes all of this possible through the convenient use of onsite drug & alcohol testing. Workplace drug testing laws are part of this attempt to standardize these systems, but many companies choose to use employee screening just because it seems to work and it seems to save them a lot of money. It does, on both accounts.
This article has been taken from :

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Energy of Assurance

Workplace drug testing, if used correctly, is part of a set of reassurances that any business provides its employees. For example, a company has a set of reassurances for its workers, including the reassurances that everyone will get paid on time and that they will be able to reasonably predict their paycheck. Also, everyone understands that their bosses will not whip them, beat them, sexually harass them or enslave them. They are assured of reasonable consistency in the type of work that they will be doing for that particular business. They are assured of being in reasonably safe weather when sent out to work. They are also assure of protection from the substance abuse and therefore consequent danger of fellow employees who might try to bring that into the workplace environment.
The energy of assurance comes from everyone agreeing that there is a standard code of conduct and that everyone will abide by it. This is actually where the theory of etiquette comes from. You see, people feel more comfortable in situations where they know what to expect. They feel like they can easily and freely move in situations where they are accepted and where their behavior follows this compliance agreement. Now, when etiquette and drug screening both have the goals of making everyone feel comfortable with each other, you might say that they are even somewhat equivalent.
Assurances give to the employees regarding their safety are some of the most important assurance that a company can have. Much more than pay or bonuses, workplace safety is among the top rated reasons why employees prefer one employment over another. If you can go to your job and rest assured that you are working in safety and in security, it makes the whole thing that much more appealing. Workplace drug testing laws exist for high hazard industries where that kind of assurance is less available, and therefore all resources must be spent on making sure that there is not an additional factor of human error. Drug testing equipment is part of this, but the real conveniences comes in services like the ones offered by Mediscreen. Onsite drug & alcohol testing is easy, safe, and cost effective.
This article has been taken from :

Monday, September 23, 2013

Efficiency Expertise

Today, we have lots of efficiency. Even our own company, Mediscreen, is based upon efficiency. We provide onsite drug and alcohol testing for your company, on a regular basis, no matter where you are in Australia. You might say our business is efficiency. More than that, though, our business is reduction. We reduce the amount of time your employees must take off or cut into their personal time to get screened. We reduce the amount of time it takes to get screened, period. We reduce the money you have to pay for employee drug and alcohol testing. We reduce the effort involved for everyone, since we come to your business and we screen your workers right there onsite.
The whole process is a brilliant one. We save you everything, including time and cost, and we bring peace of mind and convenience to your company.
Onsite drug and alcohol testing is meant to be streamlined, and that is why you may be looking for just such a company as ours. We make it easy and simple. We show you how it’s done. And, more importantly, your employee records are kept safe, right there onsite. You take charge of those, rather than the documents being transferred other places or kept in another location. That should give everyone peace of mind when they understand that side of things.
Workplace drug testing is part of business maintenance. Just like your janitorial staff and your safes staff and all the other aspects of your business need proper care and maintenance, so your a drug screening and alcohol testing program needs it, too. This is all a part of what makes us so necessary to so many companies in Australia. We keep everything well maintained and in good order. You receive the data you need, you have your information at your fingertips, and it is all a part of keeping your company happy and healthy. When your employees have what they need, names, safety and security, then they can perform their work much more efficiently themselves.
Thus, the efficiency passes down from person to person through the ranks of your business until everything is running smoothly and quickly. To sign up for onsite drug & alcohol testing.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Cashflow and Companies on the Go

Cash flow is part of the basic necessities in operating a business. In addition to paying for monthly or yearly business fees and expenses, cash flow helps to keep things running smoothly so that companies can pay for little basic expenses and help themselves along in the operations they perform every day. Not everything can be filled out on a form and applied to a monthly expense. At some point a reservoir of cash flow must be achieved so that businesses can operate freely and successfully on a daily basis. Fortunately, onsite drug & alcohol testing is part of this process. You see, when companies are mobile and do a lot of their work or sales on the go, then many of their employees have the opportunity to bend company policy and actually make use of any bad habits they have, even while on the job or in front of clients. This is, of course, a huge responsibility to take on, but many people do it quite successfully and it is not until much later that it is found that they were abusing substances while on the job. Of course, by that time, the company have lost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on their incompetency and their tainting of the company.
Workplace drug testing is steadily rising in popularity with mobile businesses which conduct much of their work outside of a stationary office front. Using onsite drug and alcohol screening, businesses can have their employees screened at any location in Australia, both safely and effectively. Naturally, this ability seems limited to large companies which can afford such a luxury, but this is not the case. Often, onsite drug and alcohol testing takes place in the businesses of small companies and small jobsites. A large financial backing is not necessary for such an operation. Finally, onsite drug and alcohol screening is part of retaining a cash flow of sorts, in people that is, where you can send qualified professionals out into the field to do their sales or marketing or teamwork more effectively, knowing that they are not going to let you down. It’s a reassuring thing, to be certain.
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Workers Who Intellectualise Drug Abuse

The search is endless for explanations as to why people decide to use drugs they know are addictive and so can harm them physically and mentally. It is especially difficult to understand how health care professionals can become addicted, since they know the dangers of drug use and the likelihood of addiction. Or do they? Clinton B. McCracken created the term “Intellectualization of Drug Abuse” in an effort to describe how people who know better still get caught in the trap of addiction.1 Much can be learned from his analysis of the reasons intelligent, educated and high achieving people use legal and illicit drugs with the belief they are somehow immune to addiction. Sometimes, it seems, we simply think too much.

In 2010, health professional drug abuse at Western Australia hospitals was discovered as a result of an investigation by the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC). The results were astonishing. Nurses were stealing and self-administering prescription drugs. Co-workers failed to report incidences of clear evidence of drug abuse by nurses and doctors. When controls were instituted, the number of pain killing tablets used in a ward dropped from 16,000 annually to 200.2 That was a startling indication people were probably stealing the drugs so they could sell them. The obvious conclusion is that a random alcohol drug testing program would have detected the abuse long before it required a CCC investigation. Part of the problem is that we assume people responsible for helping others maintain good health would not harm their own health. That is simply not true.

Is that the end of the story? In June 2013, in a sign of a continuing problem, a registered nurse at the Royal Brisbane Hospital was given a suspended sentence for stealing a phone, iPad, money and cash from a nurses’ station to fund a drug habit. The nurse said she stole the drugs to maintain a habit developed to cope with shift work. She was addicted to meth, ice and speed.3

Illusion of Control

The intellectualisation of drug abuse refers to people who ironically justify their drug abuse because they believe in their ability to avoid addiction due to their education and intelligence. They believe they can avoid the dangers of drug addiction and thus minimise drug harms. It is difficult to understand how thoughts can lead to such misconceptions, but they do. Intellectualisation of drug abuse leads to a person telling him or herself a substance problem does not exist and views drugs or alcohol as controllable means of finding temporary relief from stress or other work or personal problems. What makes intellectualisation different from other types of justifications is that it relies on advanced education and training to generate confidence and arrogance about the ability to control drug and alcohol abuse. In criminal thinking, people turn off their thoughts, so to speak, and act in a way they believe will relieve problems, without considering the consequences. The intellectualisation of drug abuse is different in that health professionals actually condone their behaviours in their own minds because they are convinced they can control addiction and prevent harm to personal and professional lives.

Intellectualisation is insidious because it leads to people denying the existence and scope of the problem. That may sound like others who rationalise and deny a substance abuse problem exists, but there is a difference. Rationalisation is common across drug or alcohol users. Intellectualisation is related to professional training and education that builds confidence and a sense of control. It can lead to people refusing to admit a drug or alcohol problem exists because they have an illusion of control and intentional blindness to the potentially devastating consequences of substance abuse.

Delusion of Control

The doctor who wrote the article on intellectualization was a drug addict. He freely admits he deluded himself into thinking a problem did not exist because he was able to continue to achieve and maintain personal relationships, and was able to periodically stop using marijuana and space out use of opioids. In his mind, these factors proved he was not dependent on drugs and always had total control. In reality, his drug use was causing personal and career problems.

The lesson for employers is quite clear. Random drug and alcohol testing programs are applicable to every work situation, without regard for employee skill level, education or position. People are people, whether they are doctors, nurses, miners, engineers, office workers, construction workers or any other profession. Anyone can get lured by the evil promises of drugs and alcohol and develop an addiction. Therefore, one of the most important defences against drugs in the workplace is a consistent, enterprise-wide random drug and alcohol testing program.

Mediscreen at provides onsitedrug and alcohol testing support services that are designed to fit workplace needs. We offer a high level of professionalism to ensure that drug and alcohol programs are administered with accuracy.

This article has been taken from :

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Vagaries of Drug Addiction

The definition of vagaries goes like this: An unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone’s behaviour. That definition certainly sounds like an employer describing a worker’s unusual behaviour due to drug use. Drugs have unpredictable effects on people. There are those who are able to hide their addictions and there are those who act irrationally after drug use. Surprisingly, there are also people who use hard drugs and do not get addicted, while others are addicted after a single use of a drug like cocaine or meth. The mysteries of the difference of the effects of drug use on people is under intense research scrutiny, and a new study indicates that the shape of the brain may play in a role.

Not everyone who uses cocaine becomes addicted, and it is impossible to predict the particulars of how someone will react to drugs. It takes random alcohol testing to detect some people’s drug use and for-cause drug alcohol testing to prove substances were used. There remain a lot of medical mysteries concerning drug use. However, some mysteries are being slowly revealed through in-depth studies of the brain, such as why some people can repeatedly use cocaine and not develop a dependence.

The frontal lobe of the brain plays an important role in self-control and decision making. At Cambridge University, researchers found during a study that recreational drug users who used cocaine for many years and did not get addicted had a much larger frontal lobe region that developed naturally before drug use. On the other hand, cocaine addicts had a much smaller frontal lobe region in comparison compared to non-addicts. It is believed that the smaller size is partly due to drug use and partly due to genetics. However, the smaller the brain region managing decision making, the less self-control people have. People who are addicted are compulsive and impulsive and will act without thinking. People who are not addicts were called sensation-seekers who get bored easily and so look for new experiences.”1

In the workplace, any drug use by a worker is bad, whether or not the person is addicted. Yet, the study does support the importance of Employee Assistance Programs or individualised counselling programs. Dr. Karen Ercshe, study leader, interpreted the study findings to indicate that preventative strategies tailored to each person’s brain structure and personality profile will be the most successful.

In Australia, 39.8 percent of people have used an illicit drug. One in ten have used ecstasy or hallucinogens; less than one in ten had used meth, cocaine or heroin. Cannabis was the most frequently used drug. The average age of the first-time illicit drug user was 19, highlighting the fact that employers cannot make assumptions about age because anyone over 19 years old is a potential drug user.2 The World Drug Report 2012 published by the United Nations reports that one out of every eight people using illicit drugs will get addicted.3

This article has been taken from :

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Racing to Be Drug Free

Worksafe Queensland writes, “The content of an alcohol and drug policy should be based on the identification of hazards and the assessment of workplace risks and the strategies to address them.”1 The guidelines for developing a policy then continue to explain that drug and alcohol policies adopted must take into consideration the particular risks and requirements of the workplace and whether the industry or business appears to have a substance abuse problem. Random drug and alcohol testing programs should be closely aligned with the occupational health and safety policies because they are not independent of each other. A safe and healthy workplace is free of substance abuse and drug and alcohol testing procedures contribute to that goal.
News reports tend to focus on the relationship of drug and alcohol (D&A) testing to safety in industries like mining, aviation, healthcare, construction, and others involving dangerous work conditions or that work with the public. However, every employer in every industry, without exception, needs to be concerned about the health and safety of their workers. It does not matter if workers accept positions known in advance to be highly stressful or dangerous. The employer has a duty to maintain a working environment that is as safe as possible, which requires establishing and enforcing a set of effective safety policies and procedures.
Right Conditions for Substance Abuse
A good example is the horse stables and track business. Everyone knows that there are inherent risks in managing large animals. It is impossible to stop a horse from kicking or bucking if that is what the horse insists on doing. However, the stable is a workplace with equipment, facilities, potentially hazardous materials, and a variety of employees that include stable hands, track riders, administrative personnel, and others. Stable and track personnel may find themselves working long days that start early in the morning and managing high work demands, leading to mental stress. According to a multitude of research studies, these are ideal conditions for employee substance abuse.
Research has also demonstrated many times over that drug and alcohol use increases the risk of employee injury, poor decision making, lost productivity, and in the case of stables and tracks, ‘near miss’ incidents, contracting infectious diseases, incurring debilitating injuries to the spinal or neck and soft injuries, amputations, and loss of sight.2 Falling off a horse or poor animal management that reflects impaired worker judgment due to drug or alcohol use can cost a worker a life.
Without Exception
The guidelines for stable and track safety address a host of safety issues that include fatigue, wearing protective equipment, injury reporting, handling of stable equipment and supplies, handling of hazardous supplies and equipment, animal management practices, equipment operation, track riding, and so on. At the top of the list of unacceptable work practices is drug and alcohol use in the workplace. The D&A policies and procedures are essential to maintaining workplace safety in every industry….without exception.
At stables and on riding tracks, the guidelines strictly forbid the use of illicit drugs and only employer approved alcohol use at designated events like celebrations. Stable employers are expected to institute policies that address prevention, education, counselling and rehabilitation. A policy that includes random drug and alcohol testing would be an important step in maintaining a safe workplace.
Each D&A policy should take into account the conditions of employment and the safety policies in place. Workplace location is not a concern because Mediscreen ( has trained collectors available in rural areas where stables are likely to be found.
This article has been taken from

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Evaluating Employee Awareness of D&A Policy

Once an employer has communicated a drug and alcohol policy and begun a testing program following legal and established procedures, there is one more step – evaluation of worker awareness. Without the evaluation step, there is no way to know if the message is reaching everyone it should reach and how well the program is keeping the workplace free from drugs and alcohol. It is all too common for employers to institute a variety of policies and procedures and not follow-up with routine evaluations to determine if they are accomplishing what they intended on accomplishing. In fact, it is financial considerations that finally get management attention. A drug and alcohol policy that is not working will lead to higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity, higher health costs, increased overtime pay (to cover absent employees), and so on.

Instead of waiting until there is a problem, it is better to routinely evaluate the program in terms of whether it meets goals and objectives and that begins with determining employee awareness. The evaluation process will tell the employer if the communication program is effective and what needs changing. When evaluations prove program effectiveness, the success story can be integrated into drug and alcohol education programs or sessions offered by the employer. Information can also be incorporated into emails, employee newsletters and brochures. For example, a low rate of positive results from random drug and alcohol testing confirms that workers heard the message and support the policy.

No Need to Over-Complicate

One of the best ways to evaluate whether the policy has been communicated throughout the workforce is simply by doing a periodic survey. The survey can test awareness about the policy, the dangers of the misuse of alcohol and drugs, and availability of referral, counselling and support services. The intent is to gather information that provides valuable feedback which can be used to tweak the policy communication strategies or testing program administration. The survey does not have to be complicated, and employers do not need to get bogged down in trying to collect data that can be converted into complex metrics (a propensity due to technology). The goal of the survey is simply to find out:

  • Is the worker aware of the alcohol and drug policy?
  • Does the worker consider the policy important to the workplace? (if not, ask why)
  • Does the worker think anything needs to be changed concerning the policy? (if so, ask what)
  • Does the worker know what to do if he or she suspects or witnesses workmate substance abuse?
  • Is the worker familiar with available support should personal assistance be required?
  • How can the employer do more to be supportive of workers and their families when addressing substance abuse?

Give People a Chance to Comment

The employer has valuable information at hand if a significant number of responses indicate that the workforce members are not aware of the policy, do not know how to get help with substance abuse issues, or believe changes to the policy or program are needed. One thing is for certain – give people a chance to comment and there will be plenty of them. This approach works for small, medium, and large businesses, because the evaluation survey can be delivered and responses collected manually or electronically.

Evaluating program effectiveness is important, and employers can take their lead from the federal government. Even the Executive Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) had to give evidence to the Estimates Committee 2012 about the return on investment emanating from drug treatment and support programs instituted nationwide. 1 Every drug and alcohol policy requires an investment, and there should be a return on that investment, which can include better worker health, greater productivity, fewer conflicts between workmates, lower absenteeism, and so on. All of these benefits improve employee morale, develop a zero tolerance culture, and eventually flow to the bottom line.

Employers can turn to Mediscreen at to add credibility to their drug and alcohol testing programs. Mediscreen partners with a variety of businesses to provide dependable and expert drug screening services, backing up a solid policy that works.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Don’t Forget to Train the Supervisors

It is safe to say that most employers are aware of the importance of training workers on drug and alcohol policies and procedures. It is not safe to say they are fully aware that it is equally important that supervisors and managers be fully trained also. Supervisors are essential to successful management of a substance free workplace because their responsibilities include doing everything possible to create a safe working environment. The front line supervisors work directly with staff and can serve as powerful motivators, promoting positive attitudes and sharing knowledge. They are the “eyes” of the D&A program, so to speak, because they are in the best position to identify staff drug and alcohol use.

Supervisory responsibilities vary. They are not law enforcement agents, but they must comply with the law when managing drug and alcohol policies and procedures. An employer can quickly get into legal trouble when managers and supervisors act wrongly. For example, worker confidentiality is critical. Supervisors know which of their staff members tested positive for drugs because the workers must attend training or rehabilitation programs before returning to work. Other legal responsibilities include ensuring union contracts are followed, and carefully adhering to random testing procedures.1

The Right Response

Equally important, supervisors have to know how to appropriately respond to situations involving drugs and alcohol. A situation in which someone is using drugs or alcohol can quickly get out of control, so being able to identify potential drug or alcohol users as early as possible is good practice.2 There are many elements to this type of training.

  • Learning to identify various outward signs of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • Recognizing behaviours indicating drug dealing may be going on or that staff is hiding illicit substances
  • Recognizing various types of drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Learning to effectively deal with people in crisis due to drugs or alcohol
  • Learning how to present information to workers concerning appropriate support programs like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Understanding how to monitor workers returning from drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs

The outward signs of D&A use include slurred speech, frequent mistakes on the job, difficulty walking, falling asleep during work hours, excessive anger, verbal or physical abuse of co-workers, and so on. It is easy for an uninformed and untrained supervisor to mismanage a crisis situation. Workers under the influence of drugs or alcohol may act irrationally, placing everyone involved at risk. If supervisors do not know how to defuse the situation, it can quickly get out of hand or the risks of someone getting hurt are greatly increased.

Exercising Power the Right Way

Ultimately, the supervisors and managers are workplace monitors, but they also have the power to create an environment that minimises stress as much as possible to discourage drug and alcohol use. The importance of having trained supervisors should not be overlooked in any business.

Mediscreen ( offers onsite drug & alcohol testing support services. Professionals experienced in providing D&A services in all industries can also offer training and information sessions for managers and other staff to ensure tests are properly carried out.

This article has been taken from :

Friday, September 6, 2013

Are You Really You?...Appropriate Methods of Sample Donor

In a bit of whimsy, words from Aretha Franklin’s song “Think” come to mind when discussing appropriate methods for identifying drug and alcohol sample donors. Franklin, always popular when she visits Australia, vigorously proclaims in the chorus, “You better think about what you’re trying to do to me.” At one point in the song, she also belts out, “People walking around every day, playing games, taking scores...” Franklin could be singing about the people who try to cheat on their drug and alcohol testing. They will go to great lengths to pass the tests in order to get a job or prevent the loss of one. The sample collector would probably like to tell each donor to “...stop and think before you think...” and avoid attempting tricks, but in the interest of appropriateness will instead follow careful procedures to ensure saliva or urine samples are true and are marked properly so there are no mix-ups.

People do play a lot of games, and employers must be aware of how they are played. A lot of time is spent discussing the importance of using high quality drug and alcohol testing equipment and following careful collection sample collection. However, equally important steps in the process are the initial donor identification procedures. Instead of asking people to think before cheating, the collector may very well first ask, “Are you really you?” In other words, is the person presenting for the test really who he or she says she is?

All May Not Be as it Seems

These may seem like obvious questions but consider this: How do you know the person showing up for pre-employment testing at a sample collection site is the same person who will be hired? How does a sample collector in a large company know the person showing up at the collection site is the right person? Though it may seem unlikely, there have been attempts in the past to pass a drug test by letting someone else show up for the test. For this reason, employers should never take someone’s word as to their identification. A fake ID is one in which a legal ID has been altered in some manner or is illegally reproduced. It is illegal to make or use a fake ID or to attempt to pass off a legal ID that belongs to someone else.i

Proper identification includes a driver’s licence, proof of age card, a passport, or any state or territory issued photo ID. Employers should be familiar with the Keypass, mostly so they recognise it if it is presented.ii It is issued by a private company to people who do not have other photo identification like a driver’s licence. However, since it is not government regulated or issued, it is entirely up to the testing company as to whether it is accepted as proof of identity. If the person already works for the business and is subjected to random drug & alcohol testing selection, an employee identification card is also acceptable.

What is not an acceptable identification? Personal identification by friends or co-workers should be should not be accepted. This is particularly true for a safety-sensitive employee. Safety must always be a top priority in any business. Non-photo identification should not be accepted, nor should documents that are not original. Accepting copies of identification increases the risk that someone is impersonating another person or is trying to avoid detection for some reason.

It is a sad fact of life that there are people who will go to great lengths to pass drug and alcohol tests. Employers must recognise proper identification and institute policies that identify acceptable documentatio n. Anyone unable to produce the right type of identification should not be tested. The one thing employers will not have to worry about once samples are collected and sent to Mediscreen ( is proper documentation. The documentation and processes have been thoroughly evaluated by experts as to their appropriateness in the chain of custody.

This article has been taken from :

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Advice for Co-Workers Detecting Workplace Substance Abuse

A Flinders University short document on drugs and alcohol is posted online for use as a business training resource. For those unfamiliar with the good work of this institution, Flinders University is where the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction is housed. This internationally recognised prestigious Centre does a lot of research in areas of societal use of alcohol and drugs, substance abuse in the workplace, and workforce development. The short document briefly defines legal and illicit drugs and lists typical work related problems occurring as a result of employee substance abuse. One of those problems is “conflict with workmates.”1

One of the most interesting and eye-opening statements on the 2-page training document says, “Research shows that contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of alcoholics are not derelicts living on the streets. They are people holding down jobs, often responsible or senior jobs, in our workforce.” A random drug and alcohol testing program will detect substance use. However, the truth be known, co-workers usually figure it out first because they are in the best position to detect physical and emotional changes in fellow workers.

What’s Wrong With You Today?

For example, someone abusing alcohol experiences mood changes, has poor judgement, makes poor decisions, and has impaired reactions, amongst other symptoms. An employee can hide some drug and alcohol abuse symptoms for a long period of time, and it is only those working with them on a daily basis that notice the person has begun having trouble concentrating, difficulty staying awake (the person is always seems to magically be awake when the supervisor comes by), has frequent conflicts with people the person once worked well with, and so on. Eventually, the manager or supervisor will see a pattern of declining work performance. This reinforces, once again, the importance of random drug and alcohol testing because it will reveal sooner rather than later that a worker is abusing substances.

A frequent question is: How should co-workers handle situations in which they suspect or witness drug and alcohol use? Situations such as these must be handled delicately because employees should never confront co-workers. If the effects of the drugs or alcohol are noticeable, there is no way to predict how a person would react if confronted. In addition, people under severe stress can act differently than they would normally. Their aberrant behaviour may be the result of extreme stress or personal problems. Accusing someone of using drugs or alcohol will only make the situation worse.

One of the important objectives of employee training is teaching people how to respond to certain situations, whether it is an irate customer or a co-worker with a terrible hangover and having trouble managing job responsibilities. Co-workers need to have a clear path for reporting troublesome situations. In the case of problematic substance use by fellow workers, the path should lead to Human Resources, whoever works with the business to provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), or the immediate supervisor. Trained professionals know how to legally approach workers suspected of using drugs and alcohol.

Showing Concern the Right Way

Of course, it is human nature to avoid “turning in” someone to a manager. Despite all warnings, employees will try to express concern to co-workers. Training should include explaining that expressing concern and attempting to pry into someone’s private life are two entirely different acts. Workers can be a resource for addicted co-workers by discussing the EAP program or supplying helpful contact information. However, people not trained in dealing with addiction can quickly escalate a troublesome situation, if the co-workers resent any interference or suggestion of wrongdoing.2

Above all, workers should always know that they must report to supervisors any and all safety issues. Usually the supervisor can quickly figure out the root of the problem upon investigation. Conflicts with workmates can be distressing and disruptive and sometimes dangerous. Employers need a robust drug and alcohol policy and an equally robust employee training program. Substance abuse can lead to unpredictable results, so employees need to know they have a way to get help when needed – help as a drug or alcohol user, or help as a co-worker.

Every drug and alcohol program needs to be supported with reliable screening services. Mediscreen ( trained collectors provide 24/7 screenings to businesses dedicated to implementing robust drug & alcohol testing programs. 

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