4 Ways the Drug Screening Process Has Improved – For Employers AND Employees

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Jul 2, 2015

onbRaise your hand if you remember having to give prospective employees a paper chain of custody form to conduct a drug test, locating the nearest collection center, hoping your candidate showed up to the right place in a reasonable amount of time and prayed the your drug testing lab didn’t lose the sample in transit.

Ahh, the good old days of substance abuse screening. Thanks to major advances in drug screening technology, times have changed — and rather quickly.

The process has become much more efficient for employers and candidates and even better at making sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

1. Throw out those forms

Today’s drug screening technology has made paper chain of custody forms a thing of the past for non-Department of Transportation (DOT) testing.

You no longer have to wait for a candidate to pick up their form or waste money over-nighting them. You simply type in your candidate’s address, indicate what type of test you require and automatically see where the nearest collection center is. Push a button and you can schedule the test. The candidate then receives an email with instructions on where to go. Easy, right?

While it took awhile, the Department of Transportation has finally joined the party. As of April 13, 2015, employers can use the electronic process for DOT tests.

Don’t feel like scheduling the test yourself? Most providers allow you to invite your candidates to complete the necessary data entry and schedule the test themselves.

2. Goodbye stalling tactics

As many of you know, unless someone is a habitual drug user, most substances are cleared from the body within a matter of days. Often times, candidates that had used drugs would wait a few days until the drugs left their system and then show up for the test.

With new technology advances, employers can now create lockout periods where the candidate will be denied the opportunity to provide their specimen if they don’t show up in the specified period of time. Most employers now mandate that the candidate must be tested with 48 hours from the time the appointment is scheduled.

3. Any day now

Today, all of the major drug testing labs have developed reliable technology to test urine samples on site. This differs from the recent past, where all specimens had to be shipped to a laboratory to be tested.

This created all kinds of problems including extended turnaround time (usually 2-4 days for negative tests), lost shipments and improper paperwork accompanying the specimen. With on-site testing, negative results are available in as little as 15 minutes.

Positive tests are still shipped to a laboratory for confirmation and are still subject to delay, but with less than 5 percent of all tests being positive, this is the rare exception.

4. Information at your fingertips

Technology has made it possible to monitor every step throughout the process.

Want to know if a candidate has completed their own scheduling or taken a test? Want to run management reports to see what percentage of tests were positive and for what types of drugs? It’s all available now.

This doesn’t have to be manually tabulated in a spreadsheet. Any provider worth their salt will offer on-demand reporting and tools to manage things like random testing programs.

We all used to cringe, both employers and background screening companies when it came to substance abuse testing. Thanks to these and other advances in technology we are all in a better place today to make drug testing another cursory part of the hiring process.

This was originally published on the EmployeeScreen IQ blog