Over the past 20 years, regulation and accreditation appear to have had a beneficial effect on the workplace drug-testing industry. As previously noted, accreditation provides a means for workplace drug-testing laboratories to improve the quality of their services. As depicted in Figure 16.6, the accreditation process for urine drug testing in accordance with the HHS Mandatory Guidelines has had a significant effect on the quantitative variability reported in the NLCP PT program over the period 1990 to 2007. The most dramatic effect was exhibited with 11-nor-∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THCA), where the group percentage coefficient of variation (%CV) dropped from 24.5% in 1990 to 9.7% in 2007.
Input in an accreditation program that includes peer review and documented remediation of identified deficiencies has proven to be a significant element in effectively maintaining the continuous improvement of forensic laboratories involved with workplace drug testing. Increased scrutiny by the official community and the judicial process has mandated increased documentation and peer review of the laboratories’ compliance with forensic and scientific standards and performance assessment. Objective, third-party documentation has been achieved through accreditation programs. Regulations and accreditation have become an essential element of the workplace drug-testing industry and, by all indications, will maintain a prominent role in the future of workplace drug testing.