Alcohol Drug Screening: Purpose, Effectiveness and Efficiency

Alcohol and drug tests can help safeguard the safety of motorists on roads and employees in workplaces. Law enforcers and employers would typically perform alcohol and drug screening procedures to identify and single out potentially dangerous individuals. A driver or employee under the influence of alcohol or drugs may struggle when driving vehicles or operating machinery (at work). This is because alcohol and drug use can cause impairments. These impairments include issues with vision, coordination, judgement, memory, and reaction times (slowed). Individuals with these impairments are more likely to cause accidents and injuries. Therefore, screening for substance use can play a vital role in roadside and workplace safety. Additionally, in terms of prevention, alcohol and drug tests are the most effective methods for preventing alcohol and drug-induced accidents.

Alcohol and Drug Screening: Purpose in Roads

On roads, police officers would typically use alcohol and drug screening procedures on drivers they suspect of driving under the influence. Drivers driving in a certain way are bound to attract an officer’s attention. Swerving in and out of lanes, tailgating, wrong or no use of signal lights, and over or under speeding can get you pulled over. Once pulled over, officers will assess a driver to determine if they need further tests. If a driver shows signs of intoxication, officers will most likely require the driver to perform a breath test with a breathalyser. If a driver presents with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading of 0.05% or higher, they will get fined and possibly detained. Detainment of an intoxicated driver can help protect other motorists. Moreover, drivers with a negative alcohol test result may still be required to perform a saliva test (test for drug use).

The results found in roadside screenings are viable in court. A roadside alcohol and drug screening procedure can severely charge drivers who are breaking the law and possibly endangering other motorists. Furthermore, routine roadside tests can help reduce the likelihood of drivers attempting to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Nowadays, to avoid trouble with the law, drivers usually check their alcohol level through devices like the personal breathalyser from Breathalysers New Zealand.


Alcohol and Drug Screening: Purpose in workplaces

In workplaces, alcohol and drug screening can be used in many different situations, but its primary purpose is to remove as many workplace safety hazards as possible. Employees with the right amount of experience and training are less likely to have any errors in the workplace. However, no matter how trained an employee can be, their ability to work effectively and safely can easily be altered by alcohol or drug use. Workplace testing can help employers determine individuals that may not be fit to work. These individuals are more likely to cause workplace accidents, injuries, and workflow disruptions, thus, reducing a company’s productivity and profit. Therefore, preventing alcohol and drug use in workplaces can be crucial for its success. Additionally, it may also be worth noting that frequent workplace testing can deter workplace substance abuse. These tests may discourage substance use before, during and after work.

Employers rely on devices like the workplace breathalyser from Breathalysers New Zealand and urine testing cups for workplace testing. Workplaces would typically perform alcohol and drug screening procedures under the following situations:

  • Pre-employment testing: testing performed on job applicants. This form of testing can prevent hiring individuals with potential alcohol or drug use problems.
  • Post-accident testing: employers would typically provide tests after a workplace accident or injury.
  • For-cause testing: testing employees under suspicion
  • Blanket testing: mass/companywide testing.
  • Random testing: provides alcohol and drug tests to randomly selected employees on an arbitrary date.

Alcohol and Drug Screening: Effectiveness

The alcohol and drug screening producers typically done by law enforcers and employers are highly effective and reliable. Breath alcohol tests through a police officer’s breathalyser or a workplace breathalyser from Breathalysers New Zealand are highly accurate. Moreover, breathalyser tests can even determine the exact BAC level of a driver or employee. This can further help identify an individual’s potential impairments. The higher the BAC, the higher the intoxication level. BAC is the amount of alcohol present (in grams) for every 100ml of blood. For example, a BAC of 0.06% means 6 grams of alcohol is present in every 100ml of your blood. Breath tests are the best and most effective methods for identifying alcohol use. Alternatively, employers can alcohol use urine drug tests to determine alcohol use. Moreover, it is also worth noting that breathalyser tests can only test for alcohol use.

In most cases, workplace and roadside drug screenings are entirely different. Employers would typically use urine testing cups during a workplace alcohol and drug screening. In contrast, police officers usually use saliva/oral swab tests during roadside screenings. It is important to note that these tests can provide similar results. However, unlike an alcohol breath test, these tests can only indicate a “positive” or “negative” result. These tests are unable to determine the exact amount of substance used.


The Efficiency of Breath Tests

Breath tests are the most preferred alcohol tests because they are highly reliable and easy to perform. Additionally, breathalysers are highly portable, allowing for alcohol tests in almost any situation. An alcohol breath test procedure only needs a few minutes. Once a breathalyser is on, all an employee or driver must do is wait for the sensors to warm up (10 – 20 seconds) and provide a firm blow into the device’s mouthpiece. After an adequate breath sample is provided, the breathalyser can process it and give the BAC results within a few seconds. Moreover, it is worth noting that breath tests can be performed more frequently. This feature allows employers to provide more regular alcohol tests, drastically reducing the likelihood of workplace accidents. For this reason alone, many employers now prefer using the workplace breathalysers from Breathalysers New Zealand for alcohol tests during workplace alcohol and drug screening.

The Efficiency of Urine Tests

Urine testing cups and oral/saliva test kits are quick testing methods for drug use. These methods are primarily used for initial testing. Furthermore, like breath tests, these tests are easy and quick to perform. The sample collection method of these tests only takes a few minutes. Additionally, after a few minutes, initial results can also immediately be seen on the testing kit itself. The simplicity of these tests makes them the best option for drug tests during a workplace or roadside alcohol and drug screening.

Breath Tests with a Breathalyser from Breathalysers New Zealand

Breathalysers New Zealand offers highly reliable BACtrack personal and workplace breathalysers. These devices can help avoid any issues during an alcohol test in alcohol and drug screening procedures. Drivers, employees, and employers can drastically benefit from these devices because of the following:

  • Features fuel cell sensors: These are the same sensors you would find in a police officer’s breathalyser. With the sensors, you can ascertain highly accurate results.
  • One-button operations: These devices are easy to use. You can start your breath test with just a press of a button.
  • Quick test results: These devices only need 10 to 15 seconds to process your breath samples.