Case History - The Importance of Being Random:
By implementing a corporate-wide random drug testing program , a $36B U.S. manufacturing company reduced illicit drug usage across its employee population by more than sixty six percent (66%), and the number of "test positives" to less than one percent (1.0%. ) By initiating a detailed corporate drugs-of-abuse policy and integrated drug testing program supported by on site use of oral-based drug screening devices - manufactured by Avitar Technologies, Inc. of Canton , Massachusetts - and an effective communication and reporting system, the Company realized an estimated 240% annual return on investment.
Industry research has verified the negative economic impacts of drugs-of-abuse in the workplace and the legal implications of establishing a corporate-wide drug testing policy and program. Given this, Company officials searched for a solution that would successfully deter employees from illicit drug use. The drug testing program had to be effective and equitable.
While the company had an established a pre-employment drug testing program that relied on laboratory urine testing services, management viewed pre-employment screening as only a partial solution. They recognized they needed a broader approach that would address the full employee population to make an impact on illicit drug use.
The following criteria were established for establishing the program. To be effective for the Corporation, a drug testing solution must:
- Be able to significantly reduce and maintain the drugs-of-abuse usage level corporate-wide;
- Provide a standardized and equitable implementation of all drug policies and procedures;
- Be administered equally well by in-house staff or third parties, at virtually any location; and,
- Be "adulteration proof" and resistant to sample substitution or adulteration;
- Demonstrate a significant return-on-investment.
After conducting significant research, corporate officials agreed that a company wide random drug testing program would yield the highest overall benefit.
Officials developed multiple random sampling "population pools" based upon employee job descriptions. Factors such as individual / group safety, economic impact to the organization, location, available supporting resources, and others were used by the Corporate Wellness Group to create models to establish sampling percentages and sampling frequencies for each population pool. The result was more than one hundred separate categories.
To assure a comprehensive and impartial testing program, the Corporate Wellness Group develops and distributes monthly drug testing lists for all divisions, business units, or remote locations. The centralized process assures that individuals are selected properly and fairly. The listing is sent via registered mail to local management.
Local personnel previously trained via internet-based means and supplemented with ongoing corporate educational practices, notify selected employees and administer the tests immediately upon receipt of the mailed listing.
Remote locations record the results of the on-site drug screening into a corporate software package. Data fields collected include test administrator, date, time, reason for testing, test results, and additional actions required or taken (for example; confirmatory tests and other administrative actions.)
The use of certified test administrators and supporting test administration and reporting software play equally important roles. Certified test administrators contribute dramatically to obtaining consistent test results, and lessen re-test rates due to errors. Corporate drug policy workflow and drug testing analysis software assure that an accurate and permanent archive of test practices and results are maintained for audit, analysis, and reporting purposes.
While corporate personnel can view, analyze, and compare data from all remote locations, privacy and security are preserved relative to "peer to peer" access by passwords and appropriate data encryption techniques.
Results to Date
In 2002, Quest Diagnostics Laboratories performed more than 7 million drug tests across the United States , of which 4.4 percent were positive.
When random testing was first implemented at the company, the positive rate was 3.38%. Continuing and increasing the program since inception has driven the positive test rate down to 0.88%.
Annual savings have been calculated in the following areas: Productivity, Medical, and Workers Compensation, providing a minimum of 240% times the annual cost of the drug testing program each year.
While the presumption is that illicit drug use at the corporation will never be zero, it is anticipated that the random positive rate can be further reduced. The next target is a 0.5 % positive test rate.
It has also been determined that an integrated, and standardized alcohol and drug testing program would provide additional value to both management and employees. The company is now investigating how to best establish criteria and then deploy a total solution for both alcohol and drug testing across its workforces.
Services areas where Avitar can assist include: