Drug Abuse: It Affects Us All
Use of Test Results

Positive test results can have severe, long-term consequences for the individual: reduced work responsibility, job loss, legal action, a criminal record, social stigmatization and a damaged reputation. For this reason, drug testing programs must use the highest-quality equipment with very specific and sensitive methods to ensure the most accurate results possible. This will eliminate the possibility of false positives or prescription drugs showing up as drugs of abuse.

Competent drug testing laboratories and responsible organizations using them are aware of the psychological, social, economic and legal implications of reporting or mismanaging incorrect results. Therefore, test results are routinely kept confidential. Detailed, accurate records of sample handling — from collection through analysis — help to protect legal rights of both the laboratory and the individual being tested.

Laboratories as a rule perform a confirmatory test before reporting a positive result. Without this, the result would be considered unconfirmed. The recommended procedure for confirmatory testing employs a highly sensitive and specific testing method based on a different chemical principle than that normally used in the initial screening.

Companies testing current employees have various options when drug test results are positive, including recommendations for drug treatment programs or disciplinary action. At least 8,000 American employers, including more than half of the Fortune 500 companies, have established in-house employee assistance programs, including counseling and drug treatment for workers seeking help. Most companies prefer to help current employees rehabilitate themselves, instead of discharging them and hiring and training new workers for the same jobs. The majority offer assistance to those who come forward voluntarily for treatment. Studies show a 35 percent to 79 percent recovery rate for employees enrolled in drug and alcohol treatment programs.