Drug and Alcohol Testing Expert/Consultant

Updated: January 10, 2011


There are two types of drug testing - Federally mandated and non-mandated. Common carriers such as airlines, railroads, truck drivers and safety sensitive positions are federally mandated. The rules governing all Federal drug testing can be found in 49 CFR Part 40. Non - mandated drug testing does not mean the absence of any regulation. Non-mandated drug testing is regulated by the US Department of Health and Human Services. These include retail businesses, service businesses, food industry, etc. While states can also promulgate their own regulations - they can not violate the basic tenet of law which prohibits a State from creating a regulation that contradicts a Federal regulation.


Drug testing is a process which involves various individuals at different parts. The goals of these individuals often vary sharply from the goal of drug testing - which is public safety. The process begins with the administration of the drug testing programs by the companies. Industry wide, the human resource professionals predominately control the drug testing process. This, in itself, is a conflict of interest. Drug testing should be placed in the hands of Profit/Loss and/or Safety departments. The roll of HR should be to enforce company policy and procedure not to create, or implement, them. The inherent conflict here lies in HR's goal which is to fill jobs - which has nothing to do with safety. Nationwide, HR personnel consistently allow donors excessive time periods to comply with testing, allow donors to take multiple tests after failing drug tests and ignore the requirement that donors with diluted specimens must be re-tested. Second, companies use temporary agencies to circumvent the company's drug testing policy. If the worker is placed by the temp agency, they are an employee of the temp agency and not "technically" subject to the company's drug test policy. And since the temp agency's goal is to provide employees - they are less interested in the integrity of the drug test than in placing a person in a position. Third, many collection facilities are certified by mass certification producers who focus on quantity of certifications, and the revenue generated, instead of the integrity of the training. In addition, they are often commissioned by mass collection providers who are obligated to provide quantity collectors preventing them from being concerned about the integrity of the collector's qualifications. Fourth, the collector lies at the core of this process and faces many obstacles. If improperly trained, the entire process is compromised. If a collector is non-confrontational they can be vulnerable to not reporting bad temperatures or diluted specimens; if under paid - the door is open to the possibility of taking a bribe; if inadequately staffed the collector will never report the conditions which require an observed collection because they do not have the staff to perform it. In addition, the collector can face the pressure of HR and job service providers who let it be known that meeting hiring quotas takes priority over the integrity of the testing process. Last, but certainly not least, is the donor who has an abundance of tools, through the internet, to adulterate specimens if he/she is a drug user; is given ample opportunity to stop using when HR provides extended compliance time and can easily substitute a specimen when going to a facility that is well known for non-compliance.

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