Drug testing is sometimes misrepresented as being unnecessary or intrusive, especially as drugs like marijuana are aggressively promoted as “safe.” However, the purpose of drug testing is not to penalize job seekers or current employees working in sectors that require regular testing for safety. The goal of drug testing is to help establish and advocate for a healthy, safe work environment.
Fact #1: Drug testing helped identify a massive post-war heroin addiction epidemic
Drug testing originated shortly after the Vietnam War. In 1971, President Nixon directed the military to initiate a urine drug testing program to identify service members in need of rehabilitation. This newly formed program yielded a disturbingly high positivity rate among military personnel returning from Vietnam. In the years following, the U.S. Department of Defense formally defined and put into place forensic drug testing requirements for the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. After implementation, drug test positivity in the military dropped from a staggering 27.6% in 1974 to 5.3% in 1988. Service members indicated that they believed drug testing was the main reason for this decrease in drug use.
Fact#2: The life of a drug testing specimen does not end at the collection site
The collection site is only the beginning of the drug testing journey. Once the drug test specimen arrives at the laboratory, it undergoes a rigorous and well-orchestrated testing process that includes sorting, scanning, screening, certifying results, and archiving specimens. While handling more than 20,000 specimens each day, our laboratories usher through every specimen using sophisticated, state-of-the-art instrumentation, time-tested processes, and a village of trained professionals who adhere to strict, highly regulated procedures.
Fact#3: You can pass a drug test
How can you pass a drug test? Don’t do drugs. Attempting to evade drug tests and believing false advertising from concoctions designed to help in deceiving laboratory tests, simply does not work. Drug test technology continues to evolve and there will always be people who try to find ways to cheat a urine drug test. One of the best ways to combat potential cheaters is to diversify your workplace drug testing program and choose test types with observed collections, such as oral fluid and hair, to reduce the risks of cheating.
Most recently, would-be drug test cheaters are using synthetic urine despite states passing legislation to ban its use. Specimen validity testing is an additional level of testing performed by our laboratories to help ensure the integrity of a test by measuring pH, creatinine, adulterants, and specific gravity. Simply put, our lab can determine if a urine specimen is actually human urine.
Despite these three lesser known facts, the benefits of drug testing are backed by research and sound science. We are committed to continuing to educate employers about the importance and benefits of drug testing.
Follow the journey of a new employee’s first year in the drug and alcohol testing industry.