Online Training for On-Site Testing
Use of illegal drugs is an expensive problem in many ways for employers. Testing has been embraced by 80 percent nationwide.
- By Valerie Weadock
- Feb 01, 2003
WHAT can a company do to help prevent theft, accidents, high health care
costs, and lost productivity caused by sick leave and employee absences? For
many, the answer is as simple as buying some plastic cups.
The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that an estimated 15.9
million Americans age 12 or over were current illicit drug users in 2001.
Unfortunately for workers and managers alike, the survey found 70 percent of
Americans who engage in illicit drug use are employed.
The Department of Labor estimates on-the-job substance abuse costs U.S.
employers more than $100 million per year. In addition to lost productivity and
theft, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says employed drug abusers cost
their employers about twice as much in medical and worker's compensation claims
as do their drug-free co-workers.
According to industry sources, about 50 million drug tests are performed each
year nationwide, with more than 80 percent of companies testing employees.
Fortunately for employers, many choices are available to test potential and
current employees for use of drugs in the workplace.
There is now a broad range of media from which to choose, including urine,
hair, saliva, sweat, and blood. While these tests were traditionally performed
at the laboratory level only, new technology has opened the doors to on-site, or
point of collection, testing. This method has grown in popularity as employers
demand faster information to expedite hiring and as regulatory acceptance
increased at state and federal levels.
With drug testing accounting for an estimated $2 billion market, employers
can easily be lost in a sea of various media, products, and manufacturers.
Choosing a testing product is only the first step. The reliability of an on-site
test depends not only on the product itself, but also on the administrator's
understanding of the product and the medium's limitations. It sounds confusing,
but don't give up just yet.
AMBC's Online Training
In response to customer requests, American Bio
Medica Corp. (ABMC) has launched an online training and certification course
designed to help drug testing program administrators further their understanding
of its products. Training and certification related to the company's Rapid Drug
Screen® and Rapid One® are available at www.abmc.com/training. Upon accessing the site, users are
asked to register and create a password, which allows any-time access to the
training information and previous certification test results.
The training module is a self-paced presentation with a table of contents
that allows the user to easily move back and forth between sections. Clear
photographs and illustrations accompany the information presented in the module.
Beginning with an explanation of the Rapid Drug Screen®'s intended use, the
program informs users of the up to nine drugs the product can detect and at what
concentrations. The module explains each of the kit's contents along with
precautions to take to ensure the most accurate test results, including proper
handling and product storage procedures.
The training information provides a step-by-step guide to specimen
collection, including verifying the donor's identity, preventing donor
contamination/tampering, and checking for correct specimen temperature.
Step-by-step information for use of the Rapid Drug Screen® and Rapid One® single
dipstick test, along with an alternate low-volume test method, also is
The module's section on interpreting test results provides clear information
on when a test can be read and how to read and interpret the results. Through
the use of text and photographs, this section tell an administrator which
results would render a test invalid and how long test results will remain
American Bio Medica Corp. plans to release online training modules for its
OralStat® and Rapid TecTM
A Little Proof
After a user completes AMBC's training module, he has
the option of taking a 14-question certification test. Consisting of
multiple-choice questions, the test covers the topics discussed throughout the
training module, with an emphasis on interpreting results.
Users can take the test as many times as needed to feel they've mastered the
concepts presented. After receiving a score of 100 percent or higher, the
program is supposed to create a personalized certificate of training. The
certificate is in .pdf format and can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader®,
available free for download at www.adobe.com.
For some reason my certificate was not personalized, but instead included
blank spaces for me to write in my name and the date. That's unfortunate; the
certificate becomes less valuable when someone can make copies and simply fill
in the blanks. A whole office could claim to be "certified," assuming the
individuals who work there can live with themselves for cheating on a test they
can take as many times as they want!
Beneficial for Employees, Too
Much of the information presented in
AMBC's online training and certification module is included in the instructions
and printed materials that accompany the product. The online version is readily
accessible, however, and won't be lost--as its hard-copy counterpart can be.
The program is not only an excellent resource/training tool for employers and
drug test administrators. It also offers employees a unique opportunity to gain
an understanding of a test that can determine their future with the company that
is testing them.
This article originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.