New to drug testing: Dr. Sample

Week #4Image of Bobblehead

Growing up I owned a George Brett bobble head doll. A few weeks ago during my first few days at Quest Diagnostics, I noticed that a fairly unique bobble head sat proudly on the desk of one of my peers. When I asked about it, my coworker gave me a smile and said, “That’s Dr. Sample.”

We’re in the healthcare business and as such a number of doctors work at Quest. Furthermore, in drug testing we collect samples from donors. With those two ideas in mind, I quickly deduced that Dr. Sample must be some sort of mascot or made up character.

How wrong I was.

Later that day I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Barry Sample, the Director of Science and Technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions. His likeness in the bobble head is uncanny, so is his industry knowledge, expertise and thought leadership. It’s with that in mind that I took a few moments to sit down with Dr. Sample earlier this week. Since I’m new to drug testing, my question for him was simple: what resources can I leverage to help me learn more about the industry?

He gave me three…

One of the industry associations Dr. Sample suggested was the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). DATIA provides education, resources and advocacy to those involved in and interested in drug and alcohol testing. Their quarterly publication, “DATIA Focus,” features legislative and regulatory information, association news, industry business trends, and legal aspects of drug and alcohol testing. DATIA also has an annual conference which unites industry leaders and government officials offering education, cutting edge information and critical networking opportunities.

Another authority on the drug testing industry is the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA). Their quarterly newsletter, “Matter of Substance,” covers legal issues, combs the industry for news and information and reports on a variety of technical findings. SAPAA also holds an annual conference where they provide industry training, and present industry developments, trends and legal issues. Their next conference is in September. It will be held in the Las Vegas area so I will definitely be attending.

Finally, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ is an essential resource which has been considered a benchmark for industry trends since its inception in 1988. It examines positivity rates to provide a comprehensive analysis of workplace drug-use trends among two major testing populations: the U.S. general workforce and the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce. When it comes to understanding historical patterns of drug use among American workers, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index is the industry standard.

Over the next few weeks I plan on digging more deeply into these resources. If, like me, you’re new to drug testing, you might consider doing the same.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website.

As a new employee at Quest Diagnostics, there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about the world of drug testing. Like some of you, I have a lot to learn about the industry. During my first year of employment, I’m going to write this weekly column highlighting drug testing procedures, products and processes as I discover them. To learn more about my journey, you can read my introductory post.