Workplace Drug Screening Option Paper

1772 words - 7 pages

"The prominence of drug testing in the workplace is expanding throughout the country as more and more companies employ drug tests to take this critical step to ensure the safety and sanctity of the workplace" (Butler, 2005-2008). The practice of administering various drug or alcohol tests continues to serve as a beneficial way for companies to: identify the employee(s) who are in need of professional assistance, cut the overall percentage of accidents and injuries on the job, lower the amount of sick leave taken, improve employee attendance, reduce employee turnover rates, cut the number of incidents involving theft of company assets and security violations, and help to increase organizational productivity. Over time, these obligatory tests have adopted the reputation of revolving more around risk management factors in relation to company safety and security rather than the well-being and individual rights of the employees.The array of diverse drug tests available offers employers multiple options to assess the stability of an employee. The most common drug examination preformed is the urine drug screen. "Statistics show that about 5% of the urine samples tested in the U.S. turns out positive for drugs" (Wong, 2002). Many issues exist in relation to urine drug screening. First, in the case that an employee is tested and a positive result is returned; it could be due in part to a specific medication the employee has been prescribed and failed to inform the employer. Another common issue in relation to urine screenings is the ability to and actuality of individuals who cheat within this testing process. Sample substitution is a common practice carried out as a means of avoiding a positive test result. A final dilemma in reference to this manner of screening is in instances of dilution. Employees, prior to actual testing, can consume a large amount of water or special purchased formula in an attempt to dilute the overall levels of illicit drugs within the urine.A second form of testing in the workplace is hair drug and alcohol testing. Hair is removed from the employee in an attempt to analyze the hair to see if the follicles contain drugs of any sort or special markers (ex. fatty acids) produced only when alcohol is present in the bloodstream. These tests are difficult to defraud in terms of switching out hair follicles. A shampoo does exist which employees can purchase in an endeavor to pass these tests but this method is not foolproof and does not hold a very high success rate. The process of hair testing has produced a large number of lawsuits in the subject matter of different ethnic groups and their varying hair structures.The third way in which a drug screen can be administered is through a saliva or oral fluid-based drug test. While participating in this test, employees or potential employees' inner mouths are swabbed and tested on-site for fast results. "Saliva or oral fluid based drug tests are becoming more prevalent because of their...

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