Alcohol and drug use and abuse along with fatigue all have the potential to impact on work safety, general health, job performance and working relationships. All employers have a duty of care to ensure a safe working environment, and most businesses strive to create a substance-free workplace with a designated alcohol and drug policy, which can include drug and alcohol testing.

Instant Drug and Alcohol Screening

Drug and alcohol screening can involve urine, saliva or Breathalyser testing, but urine screening is the most common method of drug and alcohol testing in the workplace, as it is considered the most accurate and efficient.

Instant drug and alcohol screening – whether oral fluids or urine – offers immediate results. All instant drug tests are self-contained and integrated units that can be easily transported to pathology for confirmation analysis if required.

Instant drug screen devices meet the Australian Standards AS/NZS 4308:2008.  If a non-negative result is obtained from the test, the specimen is sent to a NATA accredited laboratory for confirmatory analysis.

Instant drug and alcohol screening can also be provided at your workplace, whether metropolitan, regional or remote by our accredited drug screening staff.

It can be performed as pre-employment drug test, on a regular basis prior to performing certain tasks or handling potentially dangerous equipment, or on an ad-hoc basis on suspicion of use.

Laboratory Based Screening

While instant drug screens are common, laboratory-based drug testing may be required on some occasions. Laboratory-based drug testing is when samples are sent to a NATA certified laboratory to undergo an initial screening test and more stringent confirmatory testing for drugs and specimen validity. 

All laboratory-based drug screens are performed to Australia Standard and include screening and confirmation of all drug classes in the AS/NZS 4308:2008, including Cannabinoids (i.e. marijuana), Amphetamine substances (i.e. speed, ecstasy), Benzodiazepines (i.e.valium), Cocaine, and Opiates (i.e. heroin, morphine). Complete Corporate Health collection protocols ensure prompt analysis and as short a turn- around of results as possible. Laboratories have NATA accreditation and work closely with our Doctors to ensure clear communication to our Medical Review Officer ensuring the best care, along with strong procedures and record keeping ensuring the validity of the specimen cannot be compromised. Our laboratory-based screenings are a safe, fast, reliable way to conduct workplace drug testing.

Drug and Alcohol Policy Review & Development

A drug and alcohol policy is part of best practice for most workplaces. Such a policy can be complex to design and implement, but Complete Corporate Health is able to provide expert assistance with it: from development and review, to guidance with drug and alcohol policies and procedures to ensure best practice, we can cover any aspect of your drug and alcohol policy and ensure it meets the minimum legal requirements.

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic cannabinoids, as their name implies, are synthetically derived chemicals that are functionally similar to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active substance of cannabis. The synthetic cannabinoids are a group of chemicals that have slightly varied chemical makeup but in general bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other organs. Initially developed as therapeutic agents for the treatment of pain, they rapidly moved into the retail market for their THC-like effects while holding a quasi-legal position.

Other synthetic cannabinoids are Cannabidiol (CBD). These are not illegal and can now be found in food, cosmetics, alternative medications and other ingestible or topical products.

CBD is benign from a workplace perspective because it is not psychotropic and will not cause impairment. Pure CBD oil is safe to use even for those driving or operating machinery at work. However, this is not the case for mixed CBD or THC oil products.

Cannabidiol (CBD) shouldn’t show up on a drug test. However, many CBD products contain trace amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main active ingredient. If enough THC is present, it will show up on a drug test. This means that in rare cases, using CBD might lead to a positive drug test and may compromise employment.

Synthetic cannabinoids were initially detected in Australia in late 2008. With evidence suggestive of increased use in Australian workplaces, it was criminalized in 2011-12 throughout most Australian States and Territories.

With ready access via ordering on-line as well as ongoing development including changing the chemical makeup of these drugs, it remains a developing field for drug detection and surveillance.

Given the physiological and psychological effects including impaired motor coordination, reaction times and judgment, the safety implications are considerable concerning Workplace Health and Safety and General Duty of Care obligations throughout the workforce.

For more information on drug and alcohol tests, please contact the Complete Corporate Health team.

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