Organization Employee Assistance Programs

Federally regulated organizations urge pre-employment and employee urine drug-testing under the umbrella of Employment Assistance Programs (EAP). Anti-drug testing education and rehabilitation practices constitute other components of the program. Planned to curb drug use and rehabilitate drug users, the EAP commences with pre-employment drug testing. Applicants must be notified that urine drug testing is a preliminary condition for pre-employment processing and they must be made aware of the outcomes of a positive test. The collection agencies are responsible to oversee that the employers use federally certified drug-testing laboratories which are qualified for the program. Pre-employment testing carries only few requirements apart from the ones mentioned above. Nevertheless, QA should also incorporate handling practices afforded to employees, as argued below.

Testing for employees is usually arbitrary, causal and medical. Due to lack of formal forensic requirements, medical testing will not be discussed. Before implementing the programs they should be approved by SAMHSA and the Interagency Coordinating Group (IACG). Organizations usually inform the employees, permitting them to familiarize themselves with the organizational policy, 60 days prior to the forensic urine drug testing program; only a few employees are tested. These include the ones in positions that are receptive to drug abuse, referred to as testing-designated positions. Approving the new testing-designated positions following the establishment of the initial program also falls under the domain of SAMHSA and the IACG, apart from approving the organizational drug-testing program and testing positions. The employer is required to send the specimens to a federally endorsed drug-testing laboratory and facilitate the medical review officer (MRO) to examine the test results. MRO’s requirements are illustrated in the mandatory guidelines. What makes MROs different from other physicians is their exceptional schooling which permits them to interview employees and determine, through their medical records, whether a positive drug test can be elucidated through prescription medication or authorized medical procedures. A pivotal QA concern with the starting of the program is that employees are selected randomly and that they submit their specimen within a limited time frame- usually 12 hours- after being notified. To ensure that the same employees are not selected over and over, random selection is an important criterion; however, in some cases employees are be selected repeatedly if the selection is back by job-related reasons, like their position being more sensitive to others in relation to consequences from drug abuse. Predictable selection should also be constrained as unpredictability is the basis for deterrence. Another crucial, yet tough, requirement is that individuals report immediately after notification. This is important because some drugs purge from the body much quickly than others; thus, long delays after notification allows the drug user to flush their system before donating urine. Cone et al. illustrated that drinking water allows individuals with positive cannabinoids or cocaine metabolite to produce a negative specimen in 1.5 to 2 hours. Random selection and prompt reporting being crucial procedures, it’s important that the organization must oversee the smooth application of both these practices.

Causal testing demands requirements that are parallel to random testing. Individuals may know that they would be tested when they are asked to report- this is of course not a surprising anomaly for them. Usually these tests are carried after accidents or incidents where injuries take place. Since documents and testing results are presented in court proceedings, forensic requirements are of vital importance. Therefore, a lucid procedure for notification, collection and testing of for-cause specimens should be installed by organizations. Moreover, comprehensive policies should be framed concerning the organizational consequences when an employee gets a positive urine test. There is a possibility of criminal prosecution that exceed the employer’s consequences; this marks the importance of unambiguous policies. Retaining employees who are convicted of a major crime and paying for the additional employees’ drug test rehabilitation is a requirement that most employers are not pleased to comply with.

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