A GP guide to workplace drug and alcohol testing

Workplace testing for alcohol and other drug use is on the increase, and an employee's GP may be asked to be involved in the process

Need to know:

  • In some industries, there are legislative requirements for comprehensive alcohol and other drug (AOD) management programs, including testing.
  • Others may elect to institute testing, in which case a comprehensive policy or management program, overseen by qualified medical practitioners (medical review officers – MROs) should be instituted.
  • Common worksite screening tests include breath test for alcohol, and urine or oral fluid testing for other drugs.
  • Any non-negative drug test must be confirmed by a laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA).
  • Non-negative test results may be due to illicit drug use, prescription drug use of the tested class, or false positives due to unpredictable immunoassay reactions with other prescribed medications. False negative test results may also occur.
  • The GP may be asked by employees for information about the impact of