Reasons for Drug Detection
The rationale for drug testing can vary greatly based on information desired and overall objectives. In some cases, drug screenings are preventative in nature, testing to ensure an absence of substance. In others, it’s proactive, working to ensure medical regimens are adhered to as necessary.
Employers in the United States commonly demand drug screenings for several purposes throughout the course of employment. First, some employers value a drug-free workforce and require clean drug panels prior to hiring. More stringent employers may continue to periodically test during an employee’s tenure, although this is less common. The reasoning for this may be for employee and client safety as well as liability reasons.
Accidents on a job site may also warrant drug testing, like a commercial truck driver who gets into an accident. In these situations, employers may choose to drug test to ensure intoxication was not a factor in damage to both employees and company property as well as to customers and the general public.
In some circumstances, it is necessary to determine that a patient is adhering to a prescribed medication regimen. This is particularly true in the cases of mental health or for pain management patients at risk of substance abuse. Drug testing for prescription adherence is especially common for those who have been involuntarily committed, or who have been sentenced to time in a treatment center as a part of a criminal conviction. This type of testing can also be used in clinical trials to test levels of substances to confirm proper adherence and outcomes.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Drug testing in substance abuse treatment can occur in one of two ways: to ensure participants are not using drugs, or to confirm that a particular treatment regimen is being followed.
Many rehabilitation centers test on a regular basis, like once a day during detox or once a week during inpatient care. Tests are often performed at random so that participants can’t attempt to avoid drug detection. Tests can often be triggered under the assumption that a substance has been used (based on behavioral symptoms).
Tests may also be performed to ensure a particular regimen, like methadone, suboxone, or Antabuse, is being followed as a part of treatment.
Drug testing for welfare recipients is highly controversial but does occur in some areas of the country. 15 states currently have laws on the books regarding drug testing before receiving welfare – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin – and others have strongly considered this form of testing to ensure welfare recipients are worthy of receiving benefits. In some cases, these policies have been struck down by a judge before going into effect, but other states have rolled out plans to lackluster results.
Despite the beliefs of those who have promoted these laws – that more welfare recipients in the U.S. have a drug addiction problem than the general population – that has not been proved to be the case. For example, Tennessee tested 800 applicants for state benefits and only one test came back positive for substance abuse.