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By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

Drug and Alcohol Testing: What to Expect

Drug and Alcohol Testing: What to Expect

Drug and alcohol testing is a common procedure used by employers, legal authorities, and treatment centres to assess substance use. Whether it’s for a new job, compliance with court orders, or a step in your recovery, understanding the process can help alleviate anxiety and ensure you’re prepared. 

This article will walk you through what to expect during drug and alcohol testing, including the types of tests, what they measure, and how to prepare.

The Basics of Workplace Drug Screening

The Basics of Workplace Drug Screening

Companies implement drug and alcohol testing to promote safety, enhance productivity, and reduce liability. For certain industries, such as transportation or construction, regular screening is not only recommended but legally required. By identifying substance misuse early, employers can address potential issues before they escalate. 

During a workplace drug screening, you may be tested for a variety of substances including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, and alcohol. The most common methods used are urine tests, saliva tests, hair tests, and sometimes blood tests. Knowing the details of what these tests entail can help you approach the process with confidence.

What Happens During Drug and Alcohol Testing?

When you go for drug and alcohol testing, you will typically be directed to a designated testing area. Here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect:

  • You’ll need to present a valid ID.
  • Depending on the test type, you will provide a urine, blood, saliva, or hair sample.
  • The sample is handled following strict protocols to ensure it’s not tampered with.
  • The sample is sent to a lab where it undergoes testing for various substances.

What Happens If You Get a Positive Drug Test?

What Happens During Drug and Alcohol Testing?

A positive drug test result can have significant implications, especially in the context of employment. If you receive a positive result during a pre-employment screening, the job offer may be rescinded. For current employees, a positive drug test could lead to disciplinary actions, mandatory counselling, or even termination, depending on the company’s policy.

Here’s what typically happens if you get a positive drug test:

  • You will be informed of the positive result by the testing agency or your employer.
  • A second test (like Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, or GC-MS) may be conducted to confirm the initial positive result.
  • A Medical Review Officer (MRO) may contact you to discuss the results and determine if there are any legitimate medical explanations for the positive result.
  • Depending on the outcome, your employer will take appropriate action based on their drug policy.

Court-Ordered Drug and Alcohol Assessments

Sometimes, drug and alcohol testing isn’t just a workplace requirement but a court mandate. This can happen in cases involving DUI charges, custody disputes, or other legal matters. 

A typical court-ordered drug and alcohol assessment involves several steps:

  • Detailed Questionnaires: You’ll answer extensive questions about your substance use history, family background, and overall lifestyle.
  • Interviews: A certified addiction specialist will conduct an in-depth interview to assess your situation.
  • Screenings and Tests: Similar to employment tests, you might undergo urine, blood, or hair follicle tests.
  • Recommendations: Based on the assessment, the court may require you to attend treatment programs, counselling, or education classes.

For a court-ordered assessment, you’ll need to bring specific documents, such as:

  • A copy of any previous assessments or screenings.
  • Your driving record, if applicable.
  • A report detailing any criminal history or arrest records.

These documents help the assessor get a comprehensive view of your situation and provide accurate recommendations.

How to Handle Drug and Alcohol Testing Stress

An employment drug test can be stressful, but managing your anxiety can lead to a more favourable experience. Here are some tips to help you stay calm and prepared:

  • Educate Yourself: Understanding the testing process can significantly reduce your anxiety.
  • Stay Honest: Be truthful in your answers and transparent about your history. This helps in receiving the appropriate support and recommendations.
  • Seek Support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider speaking with a counsellor or joining a support group.

Conclusion

Understanding what to expect during drug and alcohol testing can help demystify the process and reduce anxiety. Whether it’s a workplace drug screening, an employment drug test, or a court-ordered assessment, being informed and prepared is key. 

Moreover, these tests are not only about identifying substance use but also about providing the necessary support and resources for those who need help. By knowing what to expect, you can take the employment drug test with confidence and clarity.

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