What further makes interpretation of results difficult to precisely define quantify is that the amount of drug stores depends on the nature of the drug itself, the duration of the ingestion of the drug, and the composition of the tissue holding the drug and the frequency of use. The greater the incidence of drug use the more permanent the level of toxins and chemicals in tissues throughout the body, and therefore the greater the probability of catching chronic drug users in drug testing. Thea difficult part of using drug tests periodically is the longitudinally there may be peaks and valleys to the incidence of drug abuse. Companies have begun surprise inspections of their workers in the most potentially dangerous occupations including forklift workers, construction workers, airline pilots, and heavy equipment workers.
Despite these shortcomings of tests, the advances made in drug testing technologies are gradually overcoming these obstacles related to the reliability and validity of testing technologies. Specific testing technologies are more adept at capturing the traces of different drugs relative to others yet all abide by the requirements of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) according to document published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1998) which specifically required testing technologies to capture use of the five most illegal drugs (marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamine, cocaine and heroin). Rapid screening methods that allowed for 'mass screening' were available at that time, as were the confirmation methods for those five drugs was rapidly put into place as the result of NIDAs' work. Initial drug testing technologies were focused on urine testing in a test/retest methodology that often could only test for one of these drugs.
The latest developments however in drug testing technologies are advancing rapidly to be able to test multiple drugs at the same time. This technology is called a lateral flow immunoassay. Its major benefit is the ability to track multiple drugs in the same sample, can also detect the most common "masking" chemicals used by employees to try and cover up the drugs that may show up in urine or blood samples. This new approach has simplified testing and decreased the cost of running a drug test, thus contributing to the increasing popularity of such devices. Because of its simplicity, speed, and accuracy, lateral flow immunoassay has been gaining popularity and is proving to be the most accurate approach to testing for drugs. The ability to track multiple drugs in the same sample is a major benefit to employers who have invested in these machines to screen their manufacturing and service employees. In addition, advanced drug identification technologies in this latest approach also makes it difficult for employees to use a wide variety of techniques to cover up for drug use. In fact the reliability and validity of this specific technology also has created an entirely new level of performance for drug screening. The previous complaints and concerns over drug screening have begun to be answered by the latest technological advances and approaches to ensuring interpretation have a high level of accuracy.
Ethics of Mandatory Drug testing and Employee Privacy
There are many arguments against the ethics of drug testing, including the invasion of privacy and the potential of using the techniques for taking the autonomy of workers away. The many ethical complaints over drug testing however fail to recognize that the implications of having employees in potentially dangerous occupations inflicting serious harm or even fatalities on others. The potential loss of life due to a drug users' negligence and the lack of discipline on the part of employers to enforce drug testing standards are both at fault in the event anyone is injured or killed due to drug use in the workplace. The protection of human life greatly overbalances the ethics of drug testing. It is a case of extreme common sense, focusing on how to alleviate and stop potential disasters by making sure employees are free from drugs.
As if the tragedy of human injury or death is not enough, the legal implications of behavior of employees who take illegal drugs on the companies who have hired them also underscores the ethics of supporting drug testing. The fact that there are federal laws in place, and since those laws were passed that have also been major legislation on compliance, the burden on companies to be vigilant to how they run their businesses has never been greater. As a result, drug testing is essential for any company to be able to protect itself while also serve its customers as effectively as possible. Drug testing is the best insurance a company can have.
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